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Shortlist for BBC Samuel Johnson Prize unveiled

15th June 2011

The shortlist for the BBC's Samuel Johnson Prize for Non-Fiction has been revealed, with six titles in contention for the GBP 20,000 award.

Jonathan Steinberg's Bismarck: A Life, Caravaggio: A Life Sacred and Profane by art critic Andrew Graham-Dixon and Frank Dikotter's Mao's Great Famine are all contenders for the prize, the winner of which will be announced in London on July 6th.

Matt Ridley's The Rational Optimist: How Prosperity Evolves, Reprobates: The Cavaliers of the English Civil War by John Stubbs and Maya Jasanoff's Liberty's Exiles: The Loss of America and the Remaking of the British Empire complete the shortlist.

Ben Macintyre, chairman of the judges, said it will be difficult to choose a winner from such a high-quality field.

'Even before we begin our final deliberations, while one of these great books certainly deserves to win, five do not deserve to lose,' he added.

Last year's BBC Samuel Johnson Prize was won by Barbara Demick for Nothing to Envy, her account of living in North Korea, the only country in the world not connected to the internet. 

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