Ken Clarke up against Labour duo for memoir of the year

Written by David Singleton on 24 November 2016 in Culture

New awards have been launched by the Booksellers Association and the Publishers Association

Tory heavyweight Ken Clarke faces competition from Labour veterans Alan Johnson and Chris Mullin to win ‘Best Memoir by a Parliamentarian’ in the inaugural Parliamentary Book Awards.

The awards have been launched by the Booksellers Association and the Publishers Association. They are billed as "the only book awards for parliamentarians, voted for by parliamentarians.".

Clarke has been shortlisted for Kind of Blue. Reviewing the memoir for Total Politics, Tory MP Keith Simpson stated: “Ken is rightly proud of many of his achievements and makes no apology for consuming wine and cigars at inappropriate and politically incorrect moments.”

Johnson has been shortlisted for The Long and Winding Road, the third volume of his multi-award winning autobiography which covers his early political skirmishes as a trade union leader.

And Mullin – already a celebrated political diarist - makes the list for Hinterland. Discussing the new tome, the former Labour MP recently told Total Politics: “The diaries covered the rise and fall of New Labour from the night of John Smith’s death to the moment that Gordon Brown walked out of Downing Street.

“This covers a much wider time – my entire life. It’s written in a series of episodes. It’s called Hinterland because my view is that the most useful MPs are those who have done something else before they get in.”

In other categories, the Labour MP and former public accounts committee chair Margaret Hodge could pick up the award for ‘Best Non-Fiction by a Parliamentarian’ and Tory backbencher Nadine Dorries is up against Jeffrey Archer and Melvyn Bragg to win ‘Best Fiction by a Parliamentarian’.

Conspicuously missing from the shortlists are Ed Balls and Nick Clegg, both of whom published books in the summer.

Publishers were invited to nominate books and authors for the awards, and the shortlist was drawn up by booksellers. Voting is now open for parliamentarians to decide the winner in each category and the awards will be presented at a parliamentary reception in the House of Commons on 6 December.

Stephen Lotinga, chief executive of the Publishers Association and a former adviser to Clegg, said: “The link between publishing and politics can be traced throughout history, from Winston Churchill winning the Nobel Prize in Literature to Baroness Ruth Rendell’s crime thrillers and murder mysteries. These awards celebrate this long tradition which remains strong today.”



Titles shortlisted for the Parliamentary Book Awards are:

Best Memoir by a Parliamentarian

  • Hinterland: A Memoir by Chris Mullin
  • Kind of Blue by Ken Clarke
  • The Long and Winding Road by Alan Johnson

Best Non-Fiction by a Parliamentarian

  • Called to Account by Margaret Hodge
  • Game of Spies by Paddy Ashdown
  • The Silent Deep:Royal Navy Submarine Service Since 1945 by Peter Hennessy & James Jinks

Best Fiction by a Parliamentarian

  • The Angel of Lovely Lane by Nadine Dorries
  • Cometh the Hour by Jeffrey Archer
  • Now is the Time by Melvyn Bragg

Best Political Book by a non-Parliamentarian

  • A Life in Questions by Jeremy Paxman
  • And the Weak Suffer What They Must? by Yanis Varoufakis
  • Citizen Clem by John Bew



Picture by: Stefan Rousseau/PA Archive/PA Images.


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