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Interview with Biography Judge – Dr. Simon Cooke

Interview with Biography Judge - Dr. Simon Cooke
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The winner of the James Tait Black Prize for biography this year is Lindsey Hilsum with In Extremis– The Life of War Correspondent Marie Colvin. It’s a very thoughtful and perceptive and balanced account of a figure who’s almost mythical in her appeal and charisma and, yet, who took extraordinary risks– personal risks in the pursuit of truth. It was an incredibly strong list and shortlist this year and obviously a very painful decision to have to sort of award it just to one of the four. This book, though, we feel has really kind of special resonance and importance this year. It’s joining, obviously, a very illustrious list of names.
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And we feel that in the centenary year, a book which commemorates the lives of those whose stories have been suppressed or can’t get their stories out is particularly important. The writing throughout has a great tact and balance and poise, never sensationalises, never reaches for cliche. It’s very, very thoughtfully and sensitively written.
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