The Elizabeth Longford Award for Historical Biography

The Elizabeth Longford Prize for Historical Biography was established in 2003 in affectionate memory of Elizabeth Longford, the acclaimed biographer, and is sponsored by Flora Fraser and Peter Soros. This £5,000 prize is awarded annually for historical biographies, in English, and published or distributed in the United Kingdom, in the calendar year preceding. Works in translation are not eligible.

No unsolicited submissions are accepted.

2018 Prize

This year's winner was Giles Tremlett for Isabella of Castile: Europe’s First Great Queen (Bloomsbury).

Roy Foster, Chair of the judges said:

The short-list for this year’s Elizabeth Longford Prize for Historical Biography was both formidable and varied. However, the judges decided that Giles Tremlett’s Isabella of Castile resoundingly struck all the notes which we look for in a historical biography. Tremlett creates a panoramic landscape of fifteenth-century Spain, on the brink of its Golden Age, and paints a memorable portrait of the powerful woman who helped bring it about. The stratagems of politics, marriage, war, dynastic calculation and religious oppression are carefully and deftly delineated, as is the tension between Isabella’s private and public lives.

Above all, the impressive combination of scholarly authority and vivid accessibility establishes this biography firmly in the tradition of this Prize which was founded to celebrate the best in current historical biography.

This year’s shortlist included:

  • Be Like The Fox: Machiavelli’s Lifelong Quest For Freedom by Erica Benner (Allen Lane)
  • The Tartan Turban: In Search of Alexander Gardner by John Keay (Kashi House)
  • Lenin the Dictator: An Intimate Portrait by Victor Sebestyen (Weidenfeld and Nicolson)
  • Becoming Hitler: The Making of a Nazi by Thomas Weber (Oxford University Press)  

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, which appeared in 1964, a two-volume biography of Wellington, Churchill, The Queen Mother: A biography, Elizabeth R, and Royal Throne: The Future of the Monarchy, which was published in 1993.

For more information, please visit the ELHB website