Everyone likes winning an award, and of course I am no different to anyone else. So when I heard that The PRIME MINISTERS had won an award, you can imagine how thrilled I was.
Although the book is edited by me and the award is in my name, there are 54 other contributors to the book, each one having written a different essay about a different prime minister.
The Parliamentary Book Awards are organised by the Publishers Association and the Booksellers Association and all the awards are voted on by MPs and Peers. There's no panel, all MPs and Peers are entitled to vote, which makes it even more of an honour. And I promise I didn't do any campaigning! The other two shortlisted books were Fake Law: The Truth About Justice in an Age of Lies by The Secret Barrister (Pan Macmillan/Picador) and Difficult Women, A History of Feminism in 11 Fights by Helen Lewis, (Vintage/PRH). The awards were hosted this morning by Matt Chorley on Times Radio, and I'd like to thank Nicky Morgan for accepting the award on my behalf.
I first had the idea for the book in 2019, when I was thinking about how to follow up THE HONOURABLE LADIES, which was a two volume collection of essays about every female MP ever elected to the House of Commons. I spotted that in April 2021 we will be celebrating the appointment of Sir Robert Walpole as Prime Minister three hundred years ago in April 1721.
So I typed all (then) 54 PMs into a spreadsheet and started the task of approaching people to write about each one. Some were easier to allocate than others! I mean, how do you find the most appropriate person to write about a prime minister you've never heard of, like the Earl of Shelburne. It all came together in the end, despite two last minute dropouts.
Hodder & Stoughton did a sterling job in both the editing process and producing what by universal consent is a very handsome volume. So in the time honoured tradition of awards ceremonies can I offer my sincere thanks to my editor Rupert Lancaster and also to Cameron Myers, Ian Wong, Karen Geary and Kate Keenan at Hodder for all their hard work and forebearance. My gratitude also to my literary agent at Northbank, Martin Redfern, who identified Rupert as the ideal home for the book and did the deal. Thanks to Zoom Rockman who did all the wonderful illustrations of each of the 55 Prime Ministers, which I also used on the mug collection and playing cards I commissioned.
Thanks also to the many thousands of people who have bought and enjoyed the book so far. It's had nearly 300 reviews on Amazon and virtually every one of them hugely positive.
The other winners at the Parliamentary Book Awards were Dan Jarvis MP for Best Memoir by a Politician and Chris Bryant for Best Book of the Year by a Parliamentarian.
If you haven't already bought THE PRIME MINISTERS you can buy a signed copy HERE.
You can also order a mug of your favourite Prime Minister HERE.
And the Prime Ministers playing cards HERE.