Marsh Biography Award

This Award is presented to the author of the best biography written in the previous two years by a British author.

The judges look for a work that is histrorically important, records singificant human achievement and is representative of the highest standards or writing and research.

The Award has been running since 1987 and is presented biennially.

The 2011 winner is D.R. Thorpe - Supermac: A Life of Harold Macmillan

D.R Thorpe won the Marsh Biography Award for his book; 'Supermac: A Life of Harold Macmillan'.

D.R Thorpe has many qualities that make him a first rate biographer, he is an extraordinary scholar and tends to use the primary sources when researching for his books. He is the leader of the anecdote and does not just write about politics but is able to capture the character of the politician.

Supermac: a life of Harold Macmillan was published in September 2010; it explores the major events of Macmillan's time as prime minister including the Suez Crisis, the Profumo scandal and his Winds of Change speech of 1960.

The Award was presented by the Chair of the Judges, Dr Alastair Niven and the 2009 winner, Rosemary Hill at Dartmouth House, home of The English-Speaking Union.

In her speech, Hill described Thorpe as a ‘first-rate biographer’ with ‘a steady hand, a shrewd critical eye and a wide and deep knowledge not just of the subject but of the background, foreground and context.’

Also shortlisted were Caravaggio, a Life Sacred and Profane by Andrew Graham-Dixon (Allen Lane), Frances Partridge by Anne Chisholm (W&N;), Storyteller: The Life of Roald Dahl by Donald Sturrock (HarperPress), William Golding: The Man Who Wrote Lord of the Flies (Faber) and How to Live: A Life of Montaigne in One Question and Twenty Attempts at an Answer by Sarah Bakewell (Chatto & Windus).

Pictured left to right: judges David Bussey, D.R Thorpe (winner), Rosemary Hill, Dr Alastair Niven


The English-Speaking Union
Dartmouth House
37 Charles Street