Sunday, March 26, 2006

Blogger up for non-fiction award - Riverbend Baghdad Burning

Citation: BBC News online (entertainment)

Iraqi soldier manning Baghdad checkpoint
'Riverbend' has been posting from Iraq since August 2003
An anonymous blog by a young woman in war-torn Iraq has been longlisted for BBC Four's Samuel Johnson Prize for non-fiction.

Baghdad Burning, a first-hand account written under the pseudonym Riverbend, is one of 19 books in contention.

Others include Alan Bennett's Untold Stories, a biography of 19th-Century cook and author Mrs Beeton and a study of post-war US-Soviet relations.

The winner of the £30,000 prize will be announced on 14 June.

Professor Robert Winston, chair of the judging panel, said this year's longlist contained "an exceptionally wide variety of genres".

"It looks as if finalising a shortlist is going to be excessively difficult," he said.

Previous winners of the prize include Like a Fiery Elephant, Jonathan Coe's biography of the author BS Johnson, and Stasiland, Anna Funder's chronicle of the hardships endured by people from the former East Germany.

This year's panel includes theatre director Sir Richard Eyre, columnist Cristina Odone and Michael Prodger, literary editor of the Sunday Telegraph.

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