Samuel Johnson Prize 2013 winner announced

A biography of moustachioed poet, lothario and right-wing revolutionary has won this year’s award for the best non-fiction book of the year…

Gabriele D’Annunzio - The Pike

Described by the panel of judges as a book which “transcends the convention of biography”, Lucy Hughes-Hallett‘s The Pike - which recounts the life of Gabriele D’Annunzio – was announced as the winner of the 15th Samuel Johnson Prize for Non-Fiction last night at a ceremony at London’s Royal Institute of British Architects.

Chair of judges, the Astronomer Royal Martin Rees, praised the author’s ability to make such a “repellent egotist” as D’Annunzio an enjoyable subject to read about though “her intricate crafting of the narrative”. He and his fellow judges believe that readers will be “transfixed” by her portrayal of a man whose “incendiary oratory and foolhardy bravery influenced Italy’s involvement in World War I and the subsequent rise of Mussolini.”

Hughes-Hallett – who beat off competition from heavyweights such as William Dalrymple and Charles Moore, as well as engaging works by Charlotte Higgins, David Crane and Dave Goulsonreceived a prize of £20,000.


You can find out more about the full shortlist here


You can Reserve & Collect The Pike: Gabriele D’Annunzio, Poet, Seducer and Preacher of War from your local Waterstones bookshop (, buy it online at ( or download it in ePub format (



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