The Baillie Gifford Prize for Non-Fiction, formerly the Samuel Johnson Prize, is an annual British book prize for the best non-fiction writing in the English language. It was founded in 1999 following the demise of the NCR Book Award. With its motto "All the best stories are true", the prize covers current affairs, history, politics, science, sport, travel, biography, autobiography and the arts. The competition is open to authors of any nationality whose work is published in the UK in English. The longlist, shortlist and winner is chosen by a panel of independent judges, which changes every year. Formerly named after English author and lexicographer Samuel Johnson, the award was renamed in 2015 after Baillie Gifford, an investment management firm and the primary sponsor. Since 2016, the annual dinner and awards ceremony has been sponsored by the Blavatnik Family Foundation.
|Baillie Gifford Prize|
|Awarded for||Non-fiction writing|
|Formerly called||Samuel Johnson Prize|
|Currently held by||Empire of Pain by Patrick Radden Keefe|
The prize is governed by the Board of Directors of The Samuel Johnson Prize for Non-fiction Limited, a not-for-profit company. Since 2018, the Chair of the Board has been Sir Peter Bazalgette, who succeeded Stuart Proffitt, the chair since 1999. In 2015, Toby Mundy was appointed as the Prize's first director.
Prior to the establishment of the Samuel Johnson Prize, Britain's premier literary award for non-fiction was the NCR Book Award which had been established in 1987. In 1997, the NCR Award experienced a scandal when it was revealed the judges, many of them chosen for their popularity rather than literary qualities, had used "ghost readers" and were not expected to read the books they voted on. Because of this and other problems the award ceased operations. In response, one of the previous winners of NCR Award, the historian Peter Hennessy, approached Stuart Proffitt, a Publishing Director at Penguin Press, with the idea for a new award. An anonymous benefactor was found who funded the establishment of the Prize, which was named after the English 18th-century author and lexicographer Samuel Johnson.
From its inception through 2001, the prize was independently financed by the founding benefactor. In 2002, it was taken over by the BBC and re-named the BBC Four Samuel Johnson Prize and managed by BBC Four. In 2009, the name was amended to the BBC Samuel Johnson Prize for Non-Fiction and managed by BBC Two. The new name reflected the BBC's commitment to broadcasting coverage of the Prize on the BBC2 programme, The Culture Show. In 2016, the name was changed to the Baillie Gifford Prize for Non-Fiction, after its new primary sponsor, the Edinburgh-based investment management company Baillie Gifford.
Prior to the 2009 name change, the winner received £30,000, and each finalist received £2,500. After 2009, the award was £20,000 for the winner, and each finalist received £1,000. In February 2012, the steering committee for the prize announced that a new sponsor had been found for the prize, an anonymous philanthropist, enabling the prize money to be raised to £25,000. In 2015, funding for the prize was arranged by the Blavatnik Family Foundation, while the organisers sought new primary sponsors from 2016 onwards.
In 2016, under new sponsors Baillie Gifford, the prize money was restored to £30,000 for the winner.
In 2019, following the announcement that Baillie Gifford will sponsor the award until at least 2026, the prize money was increased to £50,000.
It is widely recognised as the UK's most prestigious award for non-fiction authors.
A blue ribbon ( ) denotes the winner.
The shortlist of six titles was announced on 15 October 2021. The judging panel consisted of Andrew Holgate, Sara Collins, Helen Czerski, Kathryn Hughes, Johny Pitts and Dominic Sandbrook 
The shortlist of six titles was announced on 15 October 2020. The judging panel consisted of Martha Kearney (BBC Radio presenter), Shahidha Bari (writer and radio presenter), Simon Ings (writer and editor), Leo Robson (writer), Max Strasser (editor) and Bee Wilson (journalist and writer).
The longlist of 12 titles was announced on 12 September 2019. The shortlist was announced on 22 October 2019. The judging panel was chaired by Times Literary Supplement editor Stig Abell, with Myriam François, TV producer and writer; Robert Douglas-Fairhurst, professor of English Literature; Frances Wilson, critic and biographer; Petina Gappah, writer and lawyer and Alexander Van Tulleken, doctor and TV presenter.
The longlist was not publicly announced. The shortlist was announced on 2 October 2018. The 2018 judging panel was chaired by The Economist's culture correspondent, Fiammetta Rocco, with Stephen Bush, journalist and political commentator; Susan Brigden, historian; Anne-Marie Imafidon, mathematician and campaigner; and Nigel Warburton, philosopher.
The longlist was announced on 8 September and the shortlist was announced on 6 October. The 2017 judging panel was chaired by chaired by author and Chairman of ITV Sir Peter Bazalgette, together with Anjana Ahuja, science writer; Ian Bostridge, tenor and writer; Professor Sarah Churchwell, academic and writer and Razia Iqbal, journalist and broadcaster.
The longlist was announced on 21 September and the shortlist was announced on 17 October. The 2016 judging panel was chaired by former BBC Economics Editor Stephanie Flanders, together with Philip Ball, science writer and author; Jonathan Derbyshire, executive comment editor of the Financial Times; Dr Sophie Ratcliffe, scholar, writer and literary critic and Rohan Silva, co-founder of the social enterprise, Second Home.
The longlist for the 2015 prize was announced on 22 September and the shortlist was announced on 11 October. The 2015 judging panel was chaired by Pulitzer prize-winning historian and journalist Anne Applebaum, together with Editor of Intelligent Life Emma Duncan, Editor of New Scientist Sumit Paul-Choudhury, Director of China Centre at Oxford University Professor Rana Mitter and former Controller of Film and Drama and Head of Film 4 Tessa Ross.
The longlist was announced on 1 September 2014. The shortlist was announced on 8 October 2014. The 2014 judging panel was chaired by author and historian Claire Tomalin, accompanied by Alan Johnson MP, Financial Times Books Editor Lorien Kite, philosopher Ray Monk and historian Ruth Scurr.
The longlist, which was announced on 6 September 2013, featured 18 books. The Guardian reported that this year, judges showed a preference for history and biography, at the expense of works in science. On 30 September, judges announced the shortlist. The 2013 judging panel was chaired by the cosmologist and Astronomer Royal, Martin Rees, Baron Rees of Ludlow, accompanied by classical historian Mary Beard, director of Liberty Shami Chakrabarti, historian Peter Hennessy and the writer and critic James McConnachie.
The longlist was announced 17 September 2012, the shortlist was announced 5 October. The winner was announced 12 November. The monetary prize for 2012 was £20,000 for the winner. The judges were David Willetts, Patrick French, Paul Laity, Bronwen Maddox, Raymond Tallis.
The longlist was announced 14 May 2009. The shortlist was announced in late May. The judges announced the winner of the prize at an awards event at King's Place, London on 30 June. The monetary prize for 2009 was £20,000 for the winner, and each finalist receives £1000. The judges were Mark Lythgoe, Tim Marlow, Munira Mirza, Sarah Sands, Jacob Weisberg.
The longlist was announced on 16 April 2008, the shortlist on 15 May 2008, and the winner on 15 July 2008. The judges were Claire Armitstead, Daljit Nagra, Chris Rapley, Hannah Rothschild, Rosie Boycott.
The shortlist was announced 23 May 2001. The judges were Niall Ferguson, Steve Jones, Annalena McAfee, Suzanna Taverne, Andrew Marr.
The shortlist. The judges were Stephen Fry, Timothy Garton Ash, Susan Greenfield, Baroness Helena Kennedy, Nigella Lawson.
The shortlist. The judges were Cherie Booth, Orlando Figes, Kate Summerscale, James Naughtie.
The UK's most Prestigious non-fiction award
..the UK's most prestigious non-fiction award..
The 2018 longlist will not be announced, while the shortlist will be revealed in October.