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Shortlist for 2011 Best Book of Ideas Announced

Date posted: 23 March 11

Six books have been shortlisted for the 2011 Best Book of Ideas. The prize – worth £7,500 in 2011 – is awarded to the book published in 2010 which presents new, important and challenging ideas, which is rigorously argued, and which is engaging and accessible.

The six shortlisted books are:

'The Equality Illusion: The Truth about Women and Men Today' by Kat Banyard (Faber)
'23 Things They Don't Tell You About Capitalism' by Ha-Joon Chang (Allen Lane)
'Delusions of Gender: The Real Science Behind Sex Differences' by Cordelia Fine (Icon)

The Equality Illusion:
The Truth about Women and Men Today

by Kat Banyard

23 Things They
Don’t Tell You
About Capitalism
by Ha-Joon Chang
(Allen Lane)

Delusions of Gender:
The Real Science Behind Sex Differences
by Cordelia Fine

'The Return of the Public' by Dan Hind (Verso) 'The Genius in All of Us: Why Everything You've Been Told About Genes, Talent and Intelligence is Wrong' by David Shenk (Icon) 'Who Are We - And Should It Matter in the 21st Century?' by Gary Younge (Viking)

The Return of the Public
by Dan Hind

The Genius in All of Us: Why Everything You’ve Been Told About Genes, Talent and Intelligence is Wrong
by David Shenk

Who Are We – And Should It Matter in the 21st Century?
by Gary Younge

Andrew Kelly, festival director, said today:

‘This is a stunning shortlist. The books submitted this year were of very high quality and it was hard to get to the final six. The six that have made it address feminism in new ways, identity, the problems with capitalism, the nature of genius and look at the potential role of the public in future political and media reform.’

Given the high quality of the submissions, the judges also commended six books:

Danny Dorling
Injustice: Why Social Inequality Persists

Owen Hatherley
A Guide to the New Ruins of Great Britain

Tony Judt
Ill Fares The Land: A Treatise On Our Present Discontents

John Lanchester
Whoops!: Why Everyone Owes Everyone and No One can Pay

Timothy Snyder
Bloodlands: Europe Between Hitler and Stalin

Ed Vulliamy
Amexica: War Along the Borderline

The winner will be announced on 16 May 2011 as part of the sixth annual Bristol Festival of Ideas.

Previous prize winners are:

2009 Nick Davies, Flat Earth News
2010 Kate Pickett and Richard Wilkinson, The Spirit Level: Why More Equal Societies Almost Always Do Better

The judges for the 2011 Prize are:

Andrew Kelly, Director, Bristol Festival of Ideas
Kate Pickett, co-author of The Spirit Level (winner of the 2010 Prize)
Barry Ramshaw, Festival audience representative

Quotes from authors and publishers:

Kat Banyard, author of The Equality Illusion, said

‘I’m thrilled The Equality Illusion has been shortlisted alongside such wonderful company. For too long feminism has been pushed from the mainstream, with women and girls dangled the line that it’s no longer needed. But the voices of the women who spoke out through my book testify to the brutal reality of gender inequality in the 21st Century, and to the courage of the women – and men – who are fighting back and creating a better world for everyone.’

Ha-Joon Chang, author of 23 Things They Don’t Tell You About Capitalism:

‘It’s a great honour to be shortlisted. In this book, I had tried to let people see the world a little differently – things don’t have to be this way. I am very happy to know that some people have enjoyed this perspective.’

Cordelia Fine, author of Delusions of Gender:

‘I am delighted that Delusions of Gender has been shortlisted, and honoured to be among such distinguished company. I’m especially pleased that my book is being considered for a prize that is all about the importance of ideas, since a central point of the book is the power of our ideas about gender to create self-fulfilling effects.’

Simon Flynn, Managing Director, Icon Books:

‘We’re absolutely delighted to have both Delusions of Gender and The Genius in All of Us shortlisted for the Bristol Festival of Ideas book prize. At Icon, we believe in independent thought and aim to publish books that educate, stimulate and engage the public in matters relevant to them. So, to have Cordelia Fine’s and David Shenk’s books acknowledged for this particular prize is extremely rewarding.’

Dan Hind, author of The Return of the Public:

‘I am absolutely delighted that the Bristol Festival of Ideas has shortlisted The Return of the Public. It is a great honour to be included in such distinguished company. Furthermore, it is never easy to persuade the major publishers and broadcasters to discuss their own powers and frailties, and so a book arguing for fundamental change in the structure of the communications industry always runs the risk of being overlooked. The decision to shortlist the book encourages me to think that a long overdue debate about media reform may be about to begin.’

David Shenk, author of The Genius in All of Us:

‘What a profound honour. I am humbled to be included among such distinguished work. I’m also extremely proud to gain attention for the under-appreciated work of a wide collection of superb geneticists, neurologists, and psychologists who have slowly been accumulating evidence for a whole new way to look at talent and intelligence.’

Gary Younge, author of Who Are We – And Should It Matter in the 21st Century?:

‘Delighted to hear that my book, Who are We, has been shortlisted for the Bristol Festival of Ideas prize.’

1 Comment »


  1. Bristol Festival of Ideas Book Prize 2011 Shortlist Released « The Return of the Public says:
    March 24th, 2011 at 10:31 am

    [...] And my book is on it, along with five others. Two from the Penguin group, two from Icon and one each from Verso and Faber. [...]


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