You may be familiar with the Twitter books initiative #NonFictionNovember, and stories inspired by real events have certainly taken centre stage at Four Culture last month. The team coordinated the announcement of the Baillie Gifford Prize for Non-Fiction, awarded to Hallie Rubenhold for her game-changing biographies of five of Jack the Ripper’s victims. Described by the chair of judges & Times Literary Supplement editor Stig Abell as a book that ‘speaks with an urgency and passion to our times’, The Five reconstructs the lives of five of the women killed by the notorious Jack the Ripper, often from as little as the DNA of a single hair.
The ceremony, generously supported by the Blavatnik Family Foundation, took place at Illuminate, the brand new events space at the Science Museum. Miriam orchestrated proceedings, which saw the great and the good of British publishing descend on Exhibition Road to celebrate the shortlist of six books and toast Hallie’s win.
Press coverage of the news was extensive, with stories in major UK outlets like BBC News and The Guardian, and international pick up via Associated Press in the New York Times, Washington Post and many more. Hallie was interviewed live for BBC Radio 4 World Tonight, and the team live streamed the announcement on Facebook. In its first 24 hours the video was viewed more than 38,000 times on Twitter.
The next day Hallie spoke to World Service’s Newshour about the book, and called out media treatment of female murder victims for a follow-up interview with The Guardian. She has since featured on the TLS and Monocle Meet the Writers podcasts, as well as the prize’s own, produced in-house by the team. That’s available on iTunes, Spotify, SoundCloud, Entale and Stitcher.
Hallie also appeared in conversation with Peter Florence at the Hay Festival Winter Weekend on Saturday night.