RSL Jerwood Awards for Non-Fiction

The Royal Society of Literature and the Jerwood Charitable Foundation offer three annual awards, one of £10,000 and two of £5,000, to authors engaged on their first major commissioned works of non-fiction.

"The RSL Jerwood Award was absolutely invaluable to me. Crucially it allowed me to spend more time on interviews and research, which was transformative for my book. It also enabled me to work on the book full-time, without being anxious about paying the bills . On another level, getting the stamp of approval from the panel - three judges who I immensely respect - was an important and vital morale boost."

- Ramita Navai

RSL Jerwood Award winner, 2012

The 2014 Awards

We are delighted to announce that the 2014 judges are Lucy Hughes-Hallett, Andrew O’Hagan and Jane Ridley. The application form can be downloaded at the bottom of this page. Applications must be submitted by Monday 8 September 2014 and can be emailed to or sent by post to: Paula Johnson, RSL Jerwood Awards for Non-Fiction, Royal Society of Literature, Somerset House, London WC2R 1LA. If you wish to send accompanying material (draft chapters, for example) please do so by post.

Past Recipients

2013 Tom Burgis (£10k)The Looting Machine (to be published by HarperCollins in 2015)
Julian Mash (£5k) Portobello Road: Dispatches from the Street (Francis Lincoln)
Dr Corri Waitt
(£5k) The Wisdom of Chickens

Judges: Damian Barr, Richard Holmes and Kathryn Hughes.

2012 Ramita Navai (£10k) City of Lies 
Edmund Gordon
(£5k) for Angela Carter -The Biography
Dr Gwen Adshead
(£5k) for A Short Book About Evil

Judges: Richard Davenport-Hines, Caroline Moorehead and Gaby Wood.

2011 James Macdonald Lockhart Raptor: A Journey Through Britain’s Birds of Prey, Fourth Estate (£10k)
        Gerard Russell for Heirs to Forgotten Kingdoms (Simon &          Schuster (£5k)
Helen Smith Edward Garnett: The UncommonReader,  Cape (£5k) 
 Polly MorlandThe Society of Timid Souls, or How to be  Brave, Profile Books (£2k) 

Judges: Andrew Holgate, Mark Lawson and Christopher Potter

2010   Alexander Monro The Paper Trail, Penguin (£10k)
           Roger Beam                   Englandspiel, Haynes (£5k)
           Jonathan Beckman       Cardinal Sins - Marie Antoinette  
          and the Affair of the Necklace, 
Fourth Estate (£5k)

Judges: Claire Armistead, Tristam Hunt MP and Robert Macfarlane

2009   Caspar Henderson The Book of Barely Imagined Beings, Granta (£10K)

           Miles Hollingworth St Augustine: an Intellectual
Continuum (£5k)
           Selina Mills Life Unseen: How Blindness Shaped the      
, IB Tauris (£5k)

Judges: Mark Bostridge, Ferdinand Mount and Claire Tomalin

2008   Rachel Hewitt Map of a Nation, Granta (£10k)

           Matthew Hollis Edward Thomas: The Final Years, Faber

           Paul Farley and Michael Symmons Roberts 
           Edgelands - Journeys into England's Last Wilderness
           Cape (£2.5k each) 

Judges: Alice Albinia, Piers Brendon and James Meek

2007    Andrew Stott The Pantomime Life of Joseph Grimaldi, Canongate (£10k)

            Rachel Campbell-Johnston Life of Samuel Palmer,
            Bloomsbury (£5k)
            Daniel Swift Bomber County, Hamish Hamilton (£5k)

Judges: Hermione Lee, John Stubbs and Sara Wheeler

2006    Carolyn Steel Hungry City, Chatto (£10k)

            Sarah Irving Natural Science and the Origins of British
, Pickering & Chatto (£5k)

            Sarah Irving Natural Science and the Origins of British
Pickering & Chatto (£5k)
           Thomas Wright Oscar's Books, Chatto (£5k)

Judges: Roland Chambers, Moris Farhi and Hilary Spurling

2005    Alice Albinia Empires of the Indus, John Murray (£12,500)

            Christopher Turner Adventures in the Orgasmatron, 
            Fourth Estate (£10k)

            Druin Birch Digging Up the Dead, Chatto (£5k)
            Matthew Green The Wizard of the Nile, Portobello

Judges: Brenda Maddox, Peter Parker and Matthew Parris

2004    Jim Endersby A Guinea Pig's History of Biology, Heinemann (£10K)

            Roland Chambers A Last Englishman - The Double
             Life of Arthur Ransome
, Faber (£5k)
             John Stubbs Donne -the Reformed Soul, Viking (£5k)

Judges: Michael Holroyd, Libby Purves and D.J. Taylor

Nov 2014

Memory and transformation

William Fiennes

Feb 2015


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