The James Tait Black Prizes
The James Tait Black Prizes logo

Biography winners

Winners of the James Tait Black Prize for Biography.

Doireann Ní Ghríofa - A Ghost in the Throat (Tramp Press) - 2020
Doireann Ní Ghríofa (2021 winner)
JTB George Szirtes
George Szirtes (2020 winner)

Please note these are listed by year of publication. 

2010–present

2000–2009

1990–1999

  • Kathryn Hughes - George Eliot: The Last Victorian (Fourth Estate) - 1999
  • Peter Ackroyd - The Life of Thomas More (Chatto & Windus) - 1998
  • R.F. Foster - W.B. Yeats: A Life Volume1 - The Apprentice Mage 1965-1914 (Hodder & Stoughton) - 1997
  • Diarmaid MacCulloch - Thomas Cranmer: A Life (Yale) - 1996
  • Gitta Sereny - Albert Speer: His Battle with the Truth (Macmillan) - 1995
  • Doris Lessing - Under My Skin (Harper Collins) - 1994
  • Richard Holmes - Dr Johnson And Mr Savage (Hodder & Stoughton) - 1993
  • Charles Nicoll - The Reckoning: The Murder Of Christopher Marlowe (Jonathan Cape) - 1992
  • Adrian Desmond and James Moore - Darwin (Paladin) - 1991
  • Claire Tomalin - The Invisible Woman: The Story Of Nelly Ternan And Charles Dickens (Viking) - 1990

1980–1989

  • Ian Gibson - Federico Garcia Lorca: A Life (Faber & Faber) - 1989
  • Brian McGuinness - Wittgenstein, A Life: Young Ludwig (1889-1921) (Duckworth) - 1988
  • Ruth Dudley Edwards - Victor Gollancz: A Biography (Victor Gollancz) - 1987
  • D. Felicitas Corrigan - Helen Waddell (Victor Gollancz) - 1986
  • David Nokes - Jonathan Swift: A Hypocrite Reversed (OUP) - 1985
  • Lyndall Gordon - Virginia Woolf: A Writer's Life (OUP) - 1984
  • Alan Walker - Franz Liszt: The Virtuoso Years (Faber) - 1983
  • Richard Ellmann - James Joyce (OUP) - 1982
  • Victoria Glendinning - Edith Sitwell: Unicorn Among Lions (Weidenfeld) - 1981
  • Robert B. Martin - Tennyson: The Unquiet Heart (OUP) - 1980

1970–1979

  • Brian Finney - Christopher Isherwood: A Critical Biography (Faber) - 1979
  • Robert Gittings - The Older Hardy (Heinemann Educational) - 1978
  • George Painter - Chateaubriand, Vol.1: The Longed-For Tempests (Chatto & Windus) - 1977
  • Ronald Hingley - A New Life Of Chekhov (OUP) - 1976
  • Karl Miller - Cockburn's Millennium (Duckworth) - 1975
  • John Wain - Samuel Johnson - 1974
  • Robin Lane Fox - Alexander The Great - 1973
  • Quentin Bell - Virginia Woolf - 1972
  • Julia Namier - Lewis Namier - 1971
  • Jasper Ridley - Lord Palmerston - 1970

1960–1969

  • Antonia Fraser - Mary, Queen Of Scots - 1969
  • Gordon S. Haight - George Eliot - 1968
  • Winifred Gérin - Charlotte Brontë, The Evolution Of Genius - 1967
  • Geoffrey Keynes - The Life Of William Harvey - 1966
  • Mary Moorman - William Wordsworth, The Later Years 1803-1850 - 1965
  • Elizabeth Longford - Victoria R.I. - 1964
  • Georgina Battiscome - John Keble: A Study In Limitations - 1963
  • Meriol Trevor - Newman: The Pillar And The Cloud and Newman: Light In Winter - 1962
  • M. K. Ashby - Joseph Ashby Of Tysoe - 1961
  • Canon Adam Fox - The Life Of Dean Inge - 1960

1950–1959

  • Christopher Hassall - Edward Marsh - 1959
  • Joyce Hemlow - The History Of Fanny Burney - 1958
  • Maurice Cranston - Life Of John Locke - 1957
  • St John Greer Ervine - George Bernard Shaw - 1956
  • R. W. Ketton-Cremer - Thomas Gray - 1955
  • Keith Feiling - Warren Hastings - 1954
  • Carola Oman - Sir John Moore - 1953
  • G. M. Young - Stanley Baldwin - 1952
  • Noel G. Annan - Leslie Stephen - 1951
  • Mrs Cecil Woodham-Smith - Florence Nightingale - 1950

1940–1949

  • John Connell - W. E. Henley - 1949
  • Percy A. Scholes - The Great Dr Burney - 1948
  • C. C. E. Raven - English Naturalists From Neckham To Ray - 1947
  • R. Aldington - Wellington - 1946
  • D. S. MacColl - Philip Wilson Steer - 1945
  • C. V. Wedgwood - William The Silent - 1944
  • G. G. Coulton - Fourscore Years - 1943
  • Lord Ponsonby of Shulbrede - Henry Ponsonby: Queen Victoria's Private Secretary - 1942
  • John Gore - King George V - 1941
  • Hilda F. M. Prescott - Spanish Tudor - 1940

1930–1939

  • David C. Douglas - English Scholars - 1939
  • Sir Edmund Chambers - Samuel Taylor Coleridge - 1938
  • Lord Eustace Percy - John Knox - 1937
  • Edward Sackville West - A Flame In Sunlight: The Life And Work Of Thomas de Quincey - 1936
  • R. W. Chambers - Thomas More - 1935
  • J. E. Neale - Queen Elizabeth - 1934
  • Violet Clifton - The Book Of Talbot - 1933
  • Stephen Gwynn - The Life Of Mary Kingsley - 1932
  • J. Y. R. Greig - David Hume - 1931
  • Francis Yeats Brown - Lives Of A Bengal Lancer - 1930

1919–1929

  • Lord David Cecil - The Stricken Deer: Or The Life Of Cowper - 1929
  • John Buchan - Montrose - 1928
  • H. A. L. Fisher - James Bryce, Viscount Bryce Of Dechmont, O.M. - 1927
  • Rev. Dr H. B. Workman - John Wyclif: A Study Of The English Medieval Church - 1926
  • Geoffrey Scott - The Portrait Of Zelide - 1925
  • Rev. William Wilson - The House Of Airlie - 1924
  • Sir Ronald Ross - Memoirs, Etc - 1923
  • Percy Lubbock - Earlham - 1922
  • Lytton Strachey - Queen Victoria - 1921
  • G. M. Trevelyan - Lord Grey Of The Reform Bill - 1920
  • H. Festing Jones - Samuel Butler, Author Of Erewhon (1835-1902) - A Memoir - 1919