Parliamentary Book Awards to Jowell, Norman, Hardman

Jo Henry
News - Prizes Wednesday, 05 December 2018

Best Memoir goes to The Power of Politicians, from Haus Publishing

The queues were particularly long to get into the Houses of Parliament last night (4 December), as MPs started their week-long debate on the European Union (Withdrawal) Act. While many were there for the drama in the chamber, a good few had arrived for the third Parliamentary Book Awards, hosted by Dame Margaret Hodge and sponsored by the Booksellers Association and Publishers Association.

Charlie Redmayne, president of the PA, took the opportunity of being in a room full of parliamentarians to remind them that though books were not subject to VAT, ebooks still were; while the BA's president, Nic Bottomley, thanked the government for its recent rates reduction, even if a proper overhaul of the system was what was really needed.

Pippa Crerar, newly appointed political editor of the Daily Mirror, introduced the awards just as Boris Johnson took to the floor in the EU debate (he was still talking as the presentations finished). She noted that despite the richness of the shortlists, there was no Brexit book in sight, before announcing that the late Tessa Jowell and Frances D'Souza (above right) had won Best Memoir by a Parliamentarian for The Power of Politicians (Haus Publishing). Jowell's widower, David Mills, took briefly to the stand to pay tribute to his wife, who he said had played politics from the heart, not - unlike so many others - as a game.

Jesse Norman (right) took the Best Non-Fiction by a Parliamentarian award for his book Adam Smith: What He Thought and Why it Matters (Allen Lane). Norman thanked his agent, Caroline Michel, as well as his editor Stuart Proffitt. "Books," he said, "can furnish minds as well as rooms."

The third Award, Best Political Book by a non-Parliamentarian, went to Isabel Hardman (left) for Why We Get the Wrong Politicians (Atlantic). Hardman thanked all those politicians who, on a daily basis, proved the need for her to write this book...

The winners saw off competition from leading political figures including Ruth Davidson, Helena Kennedy, Jo Swinson and Alan Johnson. The awards are voted for by parliamentarians, on shortlists drawn up by booksellers. Previous winners have included Nick Clegg, Harriet Harman and Margaret Hodge.

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