Prize for top non-fiction award jumps to £50,000 - equalling Man Booker - as sponsor Baillie Gifford commits to new seven-year sponsorship deal
Organisers of the Baillie Gifford Prize for Non-Fiction are this morning announcing a sponsorship deal with backers Baillie Gifford that runs until 2026, and the raising of the prize from £30,000 to £50,000.
As such it now matches the Man Booker Prize, which is currently searching for a new sponsor following the departure of Man Group. Any new sponsor may feel under pressure to raise the winner's purse to stay ahead of the Baille Gifford (formerly the Samuel Johnson Prize).
In further developments, TLS editor Stig Abell will chair the judging panel for the 2019 Baillie Gifford award, and the Prize will launch a regular podcast in April.
The judges this year are journalist, TV producer and writer, Dr Myriam Francois, professor of English Literature Robert Douglas-Fairhurst, critic and biographer Frances Wilson, writer and lawyer Petina Gappah, and the writer, doctor and TV presenter Dr Alexander van Tulleken (son of Kit van Tulleken).
A series of Baillie Gifford Prize podcasts will be launched in April, hosted by the BBC's Razia Iqbal and paid for by the Blavatnik Family Foundation. The podcasts will feature former winners, prize judges and other literary figures, as they reflect on winning books from down the years and the state of contemporary non-fiction.
The announcement coincides with the opening of submissions for this year’s prize. Publishers have until 12 June to enter up to three non-fiction books per imprint with publication dates between 1 November 2018 and 31 October 2019. More information about submitting books can be found at www.thebailliegiffordprize.co.uk.
Abell said: "I read books to increase my knowledge and to widen my outlook on the world. I talk to smart people for the same purpose. So chairing the Baillie Gifford Prize will be a total joy: a bunch of smart people talking about the year's most interesting, provocative and arresting non-fiction. I can't wait to get reading."
The winner of the 2019 prize will be announced on 19 November, following the shortlist announcement in October and longlist in September.
Baillie Gifford also sponsors a number of literary festivals, including principal sponsorship of Hay Festival and Cheltenham Literature Festival and headline sponsorship of Borders Book Festival, Henley Literary Festival and the Edinburgh International Book Festival (with which it has been involved for over 15 years).