Svetlana Alexievich, Margo Jefferson up for nonfiction prize

Posted October 17

— Books about life in the dying days of the Soviet Union and a childhood among Chicago's black elite are two of the finalists for Britain's leading literary award for nonfiction.

"Second-hand Time," by Belarusian Nobel literature laureate Svetlana Alexievich and Pulitzer Prize winner Margo Jefferson's autobiographical "Negroland" are shortlisted for the 30,000-pound ($36,000) Baillie Gifford Prize.

The other two finalists are Libyan writer Hisham Matar's quest to discover his father's fate, "The Return"; and lawyer Philippe Sands' "East West Street: On the Origins of Genocide and Crimes Against Humanity."

Stephanie Flanders, the judging panel chair, said Monday that the books share an "emphasis on the first person — and first-hand reporting."

Formerly the Samuel Johnson Prize, the award recognizes English-language nonfiction from any country.

The winner is announced Nov. 15.


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