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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"...


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...


Now All Roads Lead to France

Costa Book Award for Biography 2011

by Matthew Hollis

Edward Thomas was perhaps the most beguiling and influential of First World War poets. Now All Roads Lead to France is an account of his final five years, centred on his extraordinary friendship with Robert...


The Memory Palace

National Book Critics Circle 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

A fascinating exploration of the contents of Agatha Christie's seventy-three private notebooks, including illustrations and two unpublished Poirot stories

When Agatha Christie died in 1976, at age eighty-five,...


Cheever

National Book Critics Circle 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....


The World Is What It Is

National Book Critics Circle 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...


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

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 Véra (Mrs. Vladimir Nabokov) brings to...


Secrets of the Flesh: A Life of Colette

Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Biography 1999

by Judith Thurman

A scandalously talented stage performer, a practiced seductress of both men and women, and the flamboyant author of some of the greatest works of twentieth-century literature, Colette was our first true superstar....


Angela's Ashes: A Memoir

Pulitzer Prize for Biography or Autobiography 1997, National Book Critics Circle for Biography/Autobiography 1996, Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Biography 1996

by Frank McCourt

"When I look back on my childhood I wonder how I managed to survive at all. It was, of course, a miserable childhood: the happy childhood is hardly worth your while. Worse than the ordinary miserable childhood...


This Boy's Life: A Memoir

Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Biography 1989

by Tobias Wolff

This unforgettable memoir, by one of our most gifted writers, introduces us to the young Toby Wolff, by turns tough and vulnerable, crafty and bumbling, and ultimately winning. Separated by divorce from his...


The Nightmare of Reason

Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Biography 1984

by Ernst Pawel

A comprehensive and interpretative biography of Franz Kafka that is both a monumental work of scholarship and a vivid, lively evocation of Kafka's world.