The six non fiction titles that make up the Samuel Johnson Prize shortlist include a variety of genres, from journalism, philosophy and biography to memoir and science. The winner will be announced on 2 November.
The £20,000 prize, described by organisers as the UK's most prestigious of its type, was won last year by Helen Macdonald's H is for Hawk.
The list in full:
'Ted Hughes: The Unauthorised Life' by Jonathan BateTed Hughes left behind him a more complete archive of notes and journals than any other major poet, including thousands of pages of drafts, unpublished poems and memorandum books that make up an almost complete record of Hughes’s inner life, preserved by him for posterity.
Renowned scholar Sir Jonathan Bate has spent five years in his archives, unearthing a wealth of new material. His book offers for the first time the full story of Ted Hughes's life as it was lived, remembered and reshaped in his art. It is a book that honours, though not uncritically, Ted Hughes’s poetry and the art of life-writing, approached by his biographer with an honesty answerable to Hughes’s own. See more HERE.
'Landmarks' by Robert Macfarlane
Words are grained into our landscapes, and landscapes are grained into our words. Landmarks is about the power of language to shape our sense of place. It is a field guide to the literature of nature, and a glossary containing thousands of remarkable words used in England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales to describe land, nature and weather. Travelling from Cumbria to the Cairngorms, and exploring the landscapes of Roger Deakin, J. A. Baker, Nan Shepherd and others, Robert Macfarlane shows that language, well used, is a keen way of knowing landscape, and a vital means of coming to love it. See HERE.
'The Four-Dimensional Human' by Laurence Scott
Tackling ideas of time, space, friendship, commerce, pursuit and escape, and moving from Hamlet to the ghosts of social media, from Seinfeld to the fall of Gaddafi, from Facebook politics to Oedipus, The Four-Dimensional Human is a highly original and pioneering portrait of life in a digital landscape. More HERE.
'Neurotribes: The Legacy of Autism and How to Think Smarter About People Who Think Differently' by Steve Silberman
A groundbreaking book that upends conventional thinking about autism and suggests a broader model for acceptance, understanding, and full participation in society for people who think differently. More HERE.
'The Unravelling: High Hopes and Missed Opportunities in Iraq' by Emma Sky
Called the 'modern-day Gertrude Bell' by The Times, Sky provides unique insights into the US military, and the complexities, diversity and evolution of Iraqi society. With sharp detail, tremendous empathy and respect for those who served - The Unravelling is an intimate portrait of how and why the Iraq adventure failed despite the best and often heroic efforts of its young men and women on the ground. More HERE.
'This Divided Island' by Samanth Subramanian
What happens to the texture of life in a country that endures bitter conflict? What happens to the country's soul? Samanth Subramanian gives us an extraordinary account of the Sri Lankan war and the lives it changed. More HERE.