The Baillie Gifford Prize for Non-Fiction, an annual book award sponsored by the Edinburgh-based asset manager, is holding its first U.S.-based event at the Brooklyn Book Festival later this month.
On Sept. 22, Harvard University professor Serhii Plokhy, who won the prize in 2018 with "Chernobyl: The History of a Nuclear Catastrophe," and filmmaker David France, who won the 2017 prize with his book — based on his documentary — "How to Survive a Plague," will discuss their books and the importance of truth with Baillie Gifford Prize director Toby Mundy.
"Since we're awash in fake news these days, awarding non-fiction is something we're very proud of," said Michelle McLeod, sponsorship manager at Ballie Gifford, in a phone interview.
Founded in 1999, the prize was formerly known as the Samuel Johnson Prize before Baillie Gifford took over as lead sponsor in 2016. Since then, the money manager upped the prize to £50,000 ($61,000) from £30,000.
The prize covers all non-fiction across current affairs, history, politics, science, sport, travel, biography, autobiography and the arts.
"We place great value on what we can learn from (non-fiction) authors," Ms. McLeod explained. "We (regularly) invite authors into the office who meet with our investment team." The investment team then incorporates these authors' expertise into their investment research.
Although entry to the Baillie Gifford Prize event at the Brooklyn Book Festival is free, space is available on a first-come, first-served basis.
The list of 12 finalists for the 2019 prize was announced Sept. 12. Judges will pare that down to a shortlist of six books, which will be announced in October. The winner of this year's prize will then be announced in November at a ceremony in London.