The shortlisted titles are:
- Will Cohu – The Wolf Pit (Chatto & Windus)
- Rachel Cusk – Aftermath (Faber & Faber)
- Colin Grant – Bageye at the Wheel (Jonathan Cape)
- Richard Holloway – Leaving Alexandria (Canongate)
The PEN/Ackerley prize was established in memory of Joe Randolph Ackerley (1896-1967), the author and long-time literary editor of The Listener magazine. The Prize is awarded annually to a literary autobiography of outstanding merit, written by an author of British nationality and published in the UK in the previous year.
The PEN/Ackerley prize is judged by biographer and historian Peter Parker (chair), writer and painter Colin Spencer, author Georgina Hammick and historian and biographer Richard Davenport-Hines.
Peter Parker, Chair of the Judges, said
“Memoirs seemed to be thinner on the ground than usual in 2013, and the judges called in only 24 titles. That said, we have ended up with a very strong shortlist of four very different books, taking us into family secrets on the remote Yorkshire moors, a disastrously unravelling marriage on the South Coast, the touching relationship between a boy and his feckless Jamaican father in Luton, and struggles with a religious vocation in Newark, Boston, Glasgow and Edinburgh. What all four books have in common is what the judges are always looking for: a startling frankness and writing of a very high quality.”
The winner will be announced at the English PEN summer party for members on Wednesday, 17 July