We are delighted to announce the short-list of writers for the Pol Roger Duff Cooper Prize 2014, which has celebrated the best in non-fiction writing since 1956.
- George Prochnik – The Impossible Exile: Stefan Zweig at the End of the World, Granta Books
- Helen Macdonald – H is for Hawk, Jonathan Cape
- Henry Marsh – Do No Harm: Stories of Life, Death and Brain Surgery, Weidenfeld & Nicolson
- Jenny Uglow – In These Times: Living in Britain through Napoleon’s Wars, Faber & Faber
- Marion Coutts – The Iceberg: A Memoir, Atlantic Books
- Patrick McGuiness – Other People’s Countries: A Journey into Memory, Jonathan Cape
The winner for 2014 will be announced on 19th February 2015.
The Pol Roger Duff Cooper Prize has a rich and fascinating history. Duff Cooper was a statesman, diplomat and author, among his best-known books are Talleryrand, Operation Heartbreak and his autobiography, Old Men Forget. His wartime career culminated in his appointment as Ambassador to France, and it was during his time as Ambassador, some months after the liberation of Paris, that he hosted a luncheon at which Sir Winston Churchill was to meet Odette Pol-Roger. This first providential meeting, at which the opulent 1928 Pol Roger Vintage was served, marked the beginning of a long and affectionate friendship, which continued until Churchill’s death, creating a link between the Pol-Roger and Churchill families which remains as strong to this day.
Churchill was captivated by Odette. She was not only one of the beauties of her generation – one of the three dazzling daughters of the French General Wallace known as ‘The Wallace Collection’ – but she had a style and wit that sparkled as vividly as her champagne. From that first meeting, when the two were introduced by Duff and Diana Cooper, Churchill was to demand no other champagne.
Therefore it is only fitting that Pol Roger should support the Duff Cooper prize, which was established after Duff Cooper’s death in 1954, when a group of his friends formed a Trust to endow a literary prize in his memory.