Biography & autobiography / Literary

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Romantic Outlaws: The Extraordinary Lives of Mary Wollstonecraft and Her Daughter Mary Shelley

National Book Critics Circle Award for Biography 2015

by Charlotte Gordon

NATIONAL BOOK CRITICS CIRCLE AWARD WINNER • NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY THE SEATTLE TIMES

This groundbreaking dual biography brings to life a pioneering English feminist and the daughter she...


Tennessee Williams: Mad Pilgrimage of the Flesh

National Book Critics Circle Award for Biography 2014

by John Lahr

National Book Critics Circle Award Winner: Biography Category

National Book Award Finalist

2015 Winner of the Sheridan Morley Prize for Theatre Biography

American Academy of Arts and Letters’ Harold D. Vursell...


Jonathan Swift: His Life and His World

National Book Critics Circle Award for Biography 2013

by Damrosch Leo

Jonathan Swift is best remembered today as the author of Gulliver’s Travels, the satiric fantasy that quickly became a classic and has remained in print for nearly three centuries. Yet Swift also wrote many...


Gabriele D'Annunzio: Poet, Seducer, and Preacher of War

Samuel Johnson Prize 2013, Costa Book Award for Biography 2013

by Lucy Hughes-Hallett

Godfather to Mussolini, national hero of Italy and the WWI irredentist movement, literary icon of Joyce and Pound, lover of actress Eleonora Duse: here is Lucy Hughes-Hallett’s extraordinary biography of Gabriele...


Strindberg: A Life

Duff Cooper Prize 2012

by Sue Prideaux

Novelist, satirist, poet, photographer, painter, alchemist, and hellraiser—August Strindberg was all these, and yet he is principally known, in Arthur Miller's words, as "the mad inventor of modern theater"...


Now All Roads Lead to France: A Life of Edward Thomas

Costa Book Award for Biography 2011

by Matthew Hollis

Winner of the Costa Biography Award, a fascinating exploration of one of the twentieth century’s most influential poets. Edward Thomas was perhaps the most beguiling and influential of the war poets. This...


My Father's Fortune

PEN/Ackerley Prize 2011

by Michael Frayn

For the first time, Michael Frayn, the "master of what is seriously funny,"* turns his humor and narrative genius on his own family's story, to re-create the world that made him who he is

Whether he is deliriously...


The Memory Palace

National Book Critics Circle Award for Memoir/Autobiography 2011

by Mira Bartok

In the tradition of The Glass Castle, two sisters confront schizophrenia in this poignant literary memoir about family and mental illness. Through stunning prose and original art, The Memory Palace captures...


Agatha Christie's Secret Notebooks

Macavity Best Mystery-Related Nonfiction 2011, Agatha Award for Best Non-Fiction 2010

by John Curran

Agatha Christie’s Secret Notebooks is the fascinating exploration of the contents of Agatha Christie’s long hidden notebooks, including illustrations, analyses, and two previously unpublished Hercule Poirot...


William Golding: The Man Who Wrote Lord of the Flies

James Tait Black Memorial Prize for Biography 2009

by John Carey

In 1953, William Golding was a provincial schoolteacher writing books on his breaks, lunch hours and holidays. His work had been rejected by every major publisher—until an editor at Faber and Faber pulled...


Cheever

National Book Critics Circle Award for Biography 2009

by Blake Bailey

John Cheever spent much of his career impersonating a perfect suburban gentleman, the better to become one of the foremost chroniclers of postwar America. Written with unprecedented access to essential sources—including...


Eden's Outcasts: The Story of Louisa May Alcott and Her Father

Pulitzer Prize for Biography or Autobiography 2008

by John Matteson

"An amazing story [told] with clarity and intelligence ... colorful and insightful."—Martin Rubin, Los Angeles Times Winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Biography 

Louisa May Alcott is known universally. Yet...


The World Is What It Is

National Book Critics Circle Award for Biography 2008

by Patrick French

The first major biography of V.S. Naipaul, the controversial and enigmatic Nobel laureate: a stunning writer whose only stated ambition was greatness, in pursuit of which goal nothing else was sacred.

Beginning...


James Tiptree, Jr.

National Book Critics Circle Award for Biography 2006

by Julie Phillips

James Tiptree, Jr. burst onto the science fiction scene in the 1970s with a series of hard-edged, provocative short stories. Hailed as a brilliant masculine writer with a deep sympathy for his female characters,...


A Year in the Life of William Shakespeare

Samuel Johnson Prize 2006

by James Shapiro

1599 was an epochal year for Shakespeare and England

Shakespeare wrote four of his most famous plays: Henry the Fifth, Julius Caesar, As You Like It, and, most remarkably, Hamlet; Elizabethans sent off an army...


Girl Sleuth: Nancy Drew and the Women Who Created Her

Agatha Award for Best Non-Fiction 2005

by Melanie Rehak

A plucky “titian-haired” sleuth solved her first mystery in 1930. Eighty million books later, Nancy Drew has survived the Depression, World War II, and the sixties (when she was taken up with a vengeance...


De Kooning's Bicycle

Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Biography 2004

by Robert Long

Some of the twentieth century's most important artists and writers--from Jackson Pollock to Saul Steinberg, Frank O'Hara to Jean Stafford--lived and worked on the East End of Long Island years before it assumed...


Pushkin: A Biography

Samuel Johnson Prize 2003

by T.J. Binyon

In the course of his short, dramatic life, Aleksandr Pushkin gave Russia not only its greatest poetry–including the novel-in-verse Eugene Onegin–but a new literary language. He also gave it a figure of enduring...


Samuel Pepys: The Unequalled Self

Whitbread Book Award for Biography 2002

by Claire Tomalin

For a decade, beginning in 1660, an ambitious young London civil servant kept an astonishingly candid account of his life during one of the most defining periods in British history. In Samuel Pepys, Claire Tomalin...


Véra: (Mrs. Vladimir Nabokov)

Pulitzer Prize for Biography or Autobiography 2000

by Stacy Schiff

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

Winner of the 2000 Pulitzer Prize for biography and hailed by critics as both “monumental” (The Boston Globe) and “utterly romantic” (New York magazine), Stacy Schiff’s...