A book that looks at the Beatles from a kaleidoscope of playful angles won Britain’s leading non-fiction literary award on Tuesday.
Craig Brown’s “One Two Three Four: The Beatles in Time” was named the winner of the Baillie Gifford prize of £ 50,000 ($ 66,000) at a virtual ceremony in London.
Brown’s “composite biography” juxtaposes the stories of John, Paul, George, and Ringo with relatives, associates, artists, copycats, parasites, and others drawn into their orbit.
Announcer Martha Kearney, who chaired the judging panel, said Brown’s “joyous, irreverent and insightful celebration” of the Fab Four was “a ray of light piercing the deep darkness of 2020.”
“Who would have thought a book about the Beatles could look so cool?” she said.
The award recognizes books in English on current affairs, history, politics, science, sports, travel, biography, autobiography, and the arts.
Brown topped a short list that included Sudhir Hazareesingh’s story of the Haitian revolution “Black Spartacus,” “The Brain Idea” by Matthew Cobb and Christina Lamb’s book on women and war “Our Bodies, Their Battlefield.”
The other finalists were Amy Stanley’s “Stranger in Shogun City,” about a woman’s life in 19th-century Japan, and Kate Summerscale’s “The Haunting of Alma Fielding,” a fact-based story of seemingly supernatural events. .
(This story was posted from a cable agency feed with no changes to the text.)