Congratulations to @HelenJMacdonald for Samuel Johnson prize

H IS FOR HAWK / HELEN MACDONALD 9780224097000Helen Macdonald has won the Samuel Johnson Prize for Non-Fiction worth £20,000 with her wonderful book H is For Hawk. It is the first time a memoir has won the award.  Shortlisted books  here.

Claire Tomalin, chair of the judges (MP Alan Johnson, Financial Times books editor Lorien Kite, philosopher Ray Monk and historian Ruth Scurr), said Macdonald ‘s book was “unlike any other”. She also said: “Congratulations to Helen Macdonald, who has written a book unlike any other, about an obsession with a wild creature, brought to life in prose sometimes technical and always striking, and set in English landscapes observed with a visionary eye. Writing about wild life and the environment has never been better or better informed than this.”

H is For Hawk tells the story of how the death of Macdonald’s father triggered her to follow a childhood dream and become a falconer, obsessed with the idea of training her own goshawk. It is also a biography of the troubled novelist T H White, author of The Goshawk, in which he describes his own struggle to train a hawk.