The Elizabeth Longford Prize for Historical Biography

The Elizabeth Longford Prize for Historical Biography, sponsored by Flora Fraser and Peter Soros, was established in 2003 in affectionate memory of Elizabeth Longford, the acclaimed biographer. The prize celebrates, annually, a historical biography which, like hers, combines scholarship and narrative drive. 

This prize is no longer administered by the Society of Authors. For more information please visit the ELHB website.

2021 Winner
Fredrik Logevall for JFK: Vol 1



Fredrik Logevall is the Laurence D. Belfer Professor of International Affairs at Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School and Professor of History at Harvard University. A specialist on US foreign relations history and modern international history, he was previously the Anbinder Professor of History at Cornell University. Before that he taught at the University of California, Santa Barbara, where he co-founded the Center for Cold War Studies. Logevall is the author or editor of ten books, most recently Embers of War, which won the 2013 Pulitzer Prize for History and the 2013 Francis Parkman Prize, as well as the 2013 American Library in Paris Book Award and the 2013 Arthur Ross Book Award from the Council on Foreign Relations.

2021 Shortlist

  • Black Spartacus: The Epic Life of Toussaint Louverture by Sudhir Hazareesingh (Allen King)
  • Something of Themselves: Kipling, Kingsley, Conan Doyle and the Anglo-Boer War by Sarah LeFanu (Hurst)
  • A Dominant Character: The Radical Science and Restless Politics of J.B.S Haldane by Samanth Subramanian (Atlantic)

Commenting on this year's winner, the Chair of Judges, Roy Foster said:

“Logevall’s JFK volume I illuminates Boston-Irish culture, the moneyed American elite, and the youthful Kennedy’s fascination with politics in Europe as well as the USA. Clear-eyed about his subject’s faults as well as his charisma, the author paints a compelling portrait of a political phenomenon in the making. Kennedy is shown to be both more aspirational and more independent of his father than previously supposed. In the tradition of the Elizabeth Longford Prize this is high-octane historical biography, placing a major subject in a new and arresting light.” 

About Elizabeth Longford

Elizabeth Longford (1906-2002) was born Elizabeth Harman. She married Frank Pakenham, later Earl of Longford, in 1931. She was a celebrated biographer and historian and continued to write well into her nineties. Her many publications include Victoria RI (1964), Wellington: The Years of the Sword (1969), and Wellington: Pillar of State (1972).