Slightly Foxed Best First Biography 2018 shortlist

Bart van Es, Michelle Mendelssohn, Roland Philipps, Fiona Sampson and Tara Westover are on the shortlist for the Slightly Foxed Best First Biography Prize. The £2,500 prize is sponsored by the literary quarterly Slightly Foxed. The judges are authors Anne Chisholm, Rachel Cooke and Andrew O’Hagan. They will announce their winner at a ceremony at Maggs Bros in Bedford Square on Tuesday 26 February.

Bart van Es, The Cut Out Girl (Fig Tree)
A powerful, harrowing story about a young girl’s struggle to survive Nazi persecution, and a man’s attempt to unravel his family secrets.

Roland Philipps, A Spy Named Orphan (Bodley Head)
This gripping retelling of the life of Soviet spy Donald Maclean reveals a man with an extraordinary appetite for self-destruction.

Michele Mendelssohn, Making Oscar Wilde (OUP)
This compelling account of Wilde’s rise, fall and resurrection draws on new archives and rare documents to tell the story from an entirely fresh perspective.

Fiona Sampson, In Search of Mary Shelley: The Girl Who Wrote Frankenstein (Profile)
Two hundred years after the writing of the gothic masterpiece, the poet Fiona Sampson teases out the inner life of the girl behind that extraordinary creation.

Tara Westover, Educated (Hutchinson)
The unforgettable memoir of escaping from a desperate Mormon fundamentalist childhood in Idaho through books and study – “an education”.