We’re absolutely thrilled to announce that The Pike by Lucy Hughes-Hallett last night won the Samuel Johnson Prize 2013 – the UK’s most prestigious award for non-fiction.
Lucy’s biography of Italian artist Gabriele D’Annunzio beat off strong competition to scoop the £20,000 prize, which was awarded at a ceremony at London’s Royal Institute of British Architects.
Martin Rees, chair of the judges, said: ‘Readers of The Pike will surely admire Lucy Hughes-Hallett’s writing, and her intricate crafting of the narrative. Her original experimentation with form transcends the conventions of biography. And they will be transfixed by her vivid portrayal of D’Annunzio – how this repellent egotist quickly gained literary celebrity – and how, thereafter, his incendiary oratory, and foolhardy bravery influenced Italy’s involvement in World War I and the subsequent rise of Mussolini. The book shows how fascism rose partly as a perversion of nationalism – a trend still sadly relevant in today’s world.’
Lucy’s win comes four years after 4th Estate’s last Samuel Johnson win for Philip Hoare’s Leviathan.
Peruse the first chapter of this genre-subverting game-changer: