Kei Miller is on the longlist for the Baillie Gifford Prize for Non-Fiction 2021 announced on Thursday, September 9, 2021.
The Baillie Gifford Prize rewards excellence in non-fiction writing, bringing the best in intelligent reflection on the world to new readers. The award, founded in 1999 as the Samuel Johnson Prize, covers all non-fiction in the areas of current affairs, history, politics, science, sport, travel, biography, autobiography and the arts. Some of the previous winners have been Craig Brown, Hallie Rubenhold, Serhii Plokhii, and David France.
The judges for this year’s edition are Sunday Times literary editor Andrew Holgate who chairs alongside award winning novelist Sara Collins, the physicist, oceanographer, writer and broadcaster Dr Helen Czerski, the biographer and critic Kathryn Hughes, author and TV and radio presenter Johny Pitts, and historian and writer Dominic Sandbrook. On Thursday, they revealed the longlist for the award with thirteen books including Things I Have Withheld by award-winning poet and novelist Kei Miller.
Things I Have Withheld is a collection of essays that examines the silence in which so many important things are kept. Miller powerfully and imaginatively recounts everyday acts of racism and prejudice and challenges us to interrogate what seems unsayable and why – our actions, defence mechanisms, imaginations and interactions – and those of the world around us.
Andrew Holgate, the chair of judges said, “We have worked incredibly hard as a group of judges on this longlist, and ranged a long way out of our boundaries to ensure we picked up promising books that might not otherwise have been considered. I think and hope that the results of that speak for themselves – a list full of rigour, endeavour, variety and real verve, open to a broad readership, with some terrific surprises, and an onus on originality. I can’t thank my fellow judges enough for their generosity, commitment and cohesiveness, and I can’t wait for the shortlist now.”
Kei Miller said on his nomination, “To be able to say today that I’ve been longlisted for the Baillie Gifford Prize for Non-Fiction shocks me more than I can adequately convey. And that I am just thrilled and humbled is the understatement of the year.”
Following the shortlist announcement in October, the winner will be revealed on November 16.