The Guardian

Desperate for nuance, no wonder we are turning to the nonfiction shelves | Stephanie Merritt

Serious explorations of ideas are meeting a need for expertise in turbulent times
The shortlisted Baillie Gifford prize authors: top row; Hannah Fry, Ben Macintyre and Thomas Page McBee, bottom row, Serhii Plokhy, Carl Zimmer and Stephen R Platt Composite: BBC, Getty, Michael Sharkey, Michael Lionstar

When public discourse denigrates expertise, when politicians and Twitter trolls alike have learned to dismiss every criticism or uncomfortable truth as “fake” and media outlets compete for clickbait headlines, it’s not surprising to find a corresponding hunger for a deeper, more thoughtful form of engagement with ideas and for that – thankfully – there’s still no better medium than a book.

On Wednesday, the Baillie Gifford prize will be presented, Britain’s most prestigious award for nonfiction writing. Whichever of the takes home the £30,000 prize and the resulting boost to sales, it’s an

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

Related Interests

More from The Guardian

The Guardian3 min read
Experience: I Tunnelled Under The Berlin Wall
My real fear was the border guards and Stasi, who were listening for movement beneath the ground and digging their own tunnels to intercept ours
The Guardian3 min readFood & Wine
Using Their Loaf: Japanese Elevate Humble Art Of Making Toast
From a £220 toaster that makes one slice to loaves designed to crisp up better, the nation is being gripped by a new culinary obsession
The Guardian2 min read
Permafrost Thaw Sparks Fear Of 'Gold Rush' For Mammoth Ivory
Prospectors in Russia dig up remains of extinct animals for trade worth an estimated £40m a year