Lunch with Selina Hastings - Tuesday 28 October
Come and meet Selina Hastings, distinguished biographer of Nancy Mitford, Evelyn Waugh, Rosamond Lehmann and Somerset Maugham, and winner of the Biographers’ Club Lifetime Services to Biography Award.
Selina Hastings will talk about her new book, THE RED EARL, a biography of her father Jack Hastings, 16th Earl of Huntingdon. Jack rebelled against his background, marrying an unsuitable woman, adopting a Bohemian lifestyle, and espousing left wing causes. The book takes us from London in the Roaring Twenties, to a sheep farm in Australia, to tropical Tahiti, to the West Coast of America, where Jack became assistant to the celebrated radical artist Diego Rivera. Its cast includes royalty, aristocrats, movie stars, industrialists, and artists.
Venue and time: The Frontline Club, 13 Norfolk Place, London W2 1QJ. 12.30 for 1pm.
Slightly Foxed Best First Biography Prize:
Titles by Ali A Allawi, Rachel Cooke, Henry Marsh, Rory Muir, and Claudia Renton are on the shortlist for the Slightly Foxed Best First Biography Prize, worth £3,500.
- FAISAL I OF IRAQ, Ali A Allawi (Yale)
- HER BRILLIANT CAREER: TEN EXTRAORDINARY WOMEN OF THE FIFTIES, Rachel Cooke (Virago)
- DO NO HARM: STORIES OF LIFE, DEATH AND BRAIN SURGERY, Henry Marsh (Weidenfeld)
- WELLINGTON: THE PATH TO VICTORY, Rory Muir (Yale)
- THOSE WILD WYNDHAMS: THREE SISTERS AT THE HEART OF POWER, Claudia Renton (Collins)
The judges are Lucy Hughes-Hallett, Jane Ridley, and Anthony Sattin. The Prize will be announced at the Biographers' Club Prize dinner, taking place at the National Liberal Club on Friday 21 November.
The Club's summer party took place on Wednesday 18 June in the beautiful garden of an 18th-century house, graced by the spirits of Muzio Clementi and Felix Mendelssohn, in Kensington, with music by the Crouch End Allstars (Wally Fawkes on clarinet).
Gary Hicks, Chris Laoutaris, James Hamilton, Emma Donnan
Jane Ridley, Philip Eade
The Crouch End Allstars
The Biographers' Club Prize dinner - featuring the Slightly Foxed Best First Biography Prize, the Tony Lothian Prize, and the Lifetime Services to Biography Prize - will take place at the National Liberal Club on Friday 21 November. Further details to follow.
How To Get the Best Out of Your Researches
From left: Inez Lynn of the London Library, Anne de Courcy (Chair), Jane Ridley, and Chris Laoutaris were the expert and informative panellists at the Club's latest panel event, held at the Swedenborg Hall on 20 May.
How To Pitch, and Promote, Your Book
There was a packed audience at Swedenborg Hall on 3 March for an event that imparted a wealth of practical advice on dealing with agents, publishers, publicists, and literary festivals.
Pictured left to right are Andrew Lownie (founder and Life President of the Biographers’ Club); Ariane Bankes (Buxton and Dovedale festivals); Ruth Killick (Ruth Killick Publicity, former Publicity Director at Profile Books); Anne de Courcy (Biographers' Club Chairman); and Bea Hemming (Editorial Director at Weidenfeld & Nicolson).
Charles Moore wins HW Fisher Best First Biography Prize
The HW Fisher Best First Biography Prize (£5,000) has gone to Charles Moore for the first volume of Margaret Thatcher: The Authorized Biography (Allen Lane). Moore received the Prize at the Biographers’ Club Prize dinner, held at the Savile Club in London on 20th November (pictured right with Andrew Subramaniam of HW Fisher).
Runner-up for the Prize was Harriet Tuckey for Everest: The First Ascent (Ebury), her account of her father’s role as doctor to the team that first climbed Everest. Also shortlisted were Kate Bassett for In Two Minds, her life of Jonathan Miller (Oberon); Robert Beaken for Cosmo Lang, Archbishop in War and Crisis (IB Tauris); Alan Johnson for his memoir of his extraordinary childhood, This Boy (Bantam Press); and John Smart for Tarantula’s Web, a wide-ranging life of John Hayward, close friend of T.S. Eliot.
D.J. Taylor, on behalf of the judges – who included biographer Sally Cline and Robert Collins, Deputy Literary Editor of the Sunday Times – commented: “The shortlist for the H.W. Fisher Prize is brimful of variety, ranging from the lives of bygone litterateurs and distinguished churchmen to world-famous politicians and mountaineers, and demonstrates biography's ability to reinvent itself to meet some of the challenges to which all literary forms – and this one especially – are subject.”
The Biographers’ Club Tony Lothian Prize (£2,000) for the best proposal by an uncommissioned, first-time biographer went to Elaine Thornton for her proposal for a life of Amalia Beer, mother of the composer Giacomo Meyerbeer, and a tireless patron and proponent of Jewish cultural life in 19th-century Vienna. Runner-up was Eleanor Fitzsimmons for A Want of Honour: The Tragic Life and Death of Harriet Shelley. The Prize is sponsored by The Duchess of Buccleuch. The judges were Andrew Lycett, Tracy Borman, and Helen Fry. Lycett commented: “Getting across the essence of a compelling life story in a shortish space is an essential skill for any aspiring biographer. The judges were hugely impressed by the application of all who submitted entries for this prize. Their standard was high and their range of subjects wide.”
Lady Antonia Fraser won the Biographers’ Club Lifetime Services to Biography Award, receiving a glass bowl engraved by Peter Furlonger. She succeeds previous winners Michael Holroyd, Philip Zeigler, Selina Hastings, and Claire Tomalin.
Founded in 1997 by literary agent and biographer Andrew Lownie, the Biographers' Club is an umbrella organisation which seeks to educate, inspire, promote and foster a better understanding of the art of biography and its relevance across the broad spectrum of human endeavour. Through our events, we create a forum for this understanding, a public benefit for all in the art of biography across all media and disciplines, and a professional and social interaction among its membership.
For membership enquiries contact Philippa Bernard: membership at biographersclub dot co dot uk
For events enquiries contact: secretary at biographersclub dot co dot uk Please email this address to book your place at our events
For prize enquiries contact Ariane Bankes, ariane dot bankes at googlemail dot com or call 020 7359 7769
Request to potential new Members
We would like to invite the regular (currently non-member) guests who attend our events to apply for membership of the Biographers' Club. Annual fee is £35. Please contact Philippa Bernard (email: membership at biographersclub dot co dot uk) to check if you are eligible to join (also, please read the criteria contained in the Membership Application form, available on the Home and Members pages, right-hand green button).
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The Slightly Foxed Best First Biography Prize
The literary quarterly Slightly Foxed is the new sponsor of the Best First Biography Prize, run by the Biographers’ Club. The Slightly Foxed Best First Biography Prize will be presented in the autumn, and will be worth £3,500 to the winner. The judging panel will include Lucy Hughes-Hallett and Jane Ridley.
Free tax advice for Club members
The Authors and Journalists Team at HW Fisher & Company is dedicated to ensuring financial security and prosperity for their clients, and has many years’ experience in helping minimise tax liability. If you have a tax query, call their free tax helpline on 020 7874 7876 and quote ‘Biographers’ Club’, or email your query (quoting ‘Biographers’ Club’ in the subject line) to Andrew Subramaniam email@example.com or Barry Kernon firstname.lastname@example.org