Andrew Ross Sorkin’s “Too Big to Fail” made the final round in the BBC Samuel Johnson Prize, an annual U.K. nonfiction award worth 20,000 pounds ($28,650) to the winner.
Sorkin’s cinematic reconstruction of how Wall Street and Washington struggled to save the financial system will compete against an eclectic mix of titles on topics ranging from mathematics and fishing to King Charles II of England and the brutalized lives of North Koreans, the organizers said in an e-mailed statement.
Billed as the U.K.’s richest award for the genre, the Samuel Johnson Prize is sponsored by the British Broadcasting Corp. This year’s selection of finalists defies categorization, said the chairman of the judging panel, economist and Radio 4 presenter Evan Davis.
“Perhaps the only common feature of these books is the passion and sheer enthusiasm of the authors for their subjects,” Davis said in the release.
The finalists are “Alex’s Adventures in Numberland” by Alex Bellos (Bloomsbury); “Nothing to Envy: Real Lives in North Korea” by Barbara Demick (Granta); “Blood Knots” by Luke Jennings (Atlantic); “Too Big to Fail” by Sorkin (Allen Lane); “A Gambling Man” by Jenny Uglow (Faber); “Catching Fire: How Cooking Made Us Human” by Richard Wrangham (Profile).
The winner will be announced in a ceremony at the Royal Institute of British Architects on July 1. Each of the five runners-up will receive 1,000 pounds.