We are delighted to announce that Richard Benson won the James Tait Black Prize for his biography The Valley: A Hundred Years in the Life of a Yorkshire Family (Bloomsbury). The winners of the awards, worth £ 10,000 each, were announced at the Edinburgh International Book Festival.
Biography judge Dr Jonathan Wild, of the University of Edinburgh, said: “Richard Benson’s book represents a remarkable reclamation of a once prevalent social group now almost entirely gone. Benson draws upon the history of his family to bring back to life the sort of mining community that once populated large swaths of the British landscape. He does this with an uncanny eye for details that allows his forebears to spring off the page and into life.”
The other biographies shortlisted were In Plain Sight: The Life and Lies of Jimmy Savile by Dan Davies (Quercus), Eleanor Marx: A Life by Rachel Holmes (Bloomsbury), and Other People’s Countries: A Journey into Memory by Patrick McGuinness (Jonathan Cape).
The James Tait Black Prizes were founded in 1919 by Janet Coats, the widow of publisher James Tait Black, to commemorate her husband’s love of good books.