Jump to Main ContentJump to Primary Navigation

Phillipe Sands wins £30,000 Baillie Gifford prize

    Leading human rights lawyer Philippe Sands has won the £30,000 Baillie Gifford literature prize for his compelling family memoir East West Street: On the Origins of Genocide and Crimes Against Humanity.

    Professor Sands received the prestigious award at a ceremony in London on Tuesday evening.

    His book details the horrors of Nazism, beginning and ending with the Nuremberg trials of 1946, and tracing the lives of of two influential jurists, Hersch Lauterpacht and Rafael Lemkin as well as Hans Frank, the former Governor-General of Poland who was found guilty at Nuremberg.

    Against this backdrop, he integrates his personal family history into the larger story.

    Prof Sands, who is a professor of law at University College London and a barrister at Matrix Chambers, said: “As a litigator you are a storyteller. East West Street is really a double detective story. It’s a search to unlock a family secret: the circumstances in which my grandfather and my grandmother, along with my mother, left Vienna in the course of the years that followed.

    “And then it’s a detective story about the origins of crimes against humanity and genocide: two subjects that occupy my life as an academic but also as a practising lawyer doing cases in international courts.”

    Stephanie Flanders, chair of the judges, said Prof Sands had “pulled off something extraordinary with this book that deserved to reach as wide an audience as possible.”

    She added: “This is not just one story but several different stories, woven together - each important and each deeply personal to the author. The result is a multi-layered history that is impressive in its own right but also a satisfying, suspenseful read. A stunning achievement."

    The three other titles shortlisted were Svetlana Alexievich’s Second-Hand Time, Margo Jefferson’s Negroland: A Memoir and Hisham Matar’s The Return: Fathers, Sons and the Land in Between.

    Prof Sands announced that he would split the £30,000 prize with Mr Matar, not only a fellow shortlistee, but also a close friend. He promised that the money would be donated to a refugee charity - “minus the cost of a bottle of cognac for Hisham and a jar of pickles for me.”

UK News

Israeli-born Tory donor 'to be party's new treasurer'

Lee Harpin

Tue, 15:52

Israeli-born Tory donor 'to be party's new treasurer'
UK News

Hundreds of thousands view Holocaust denial talk

Rosa Doherty

Monday, May 22, 2017

Hundreds of thousands view Holocaust denial talk
UK News

Strictly Orthodox Ukip candidate 'should not run for office'

Marcus Dysch

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Strictly Orthodox Ukip candidate 'should not run for office'
UK News

Strip Jewish group of award, say Labour activists

Marcus Dysch

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Strip Jewish group of award, say Labour activists
UK News

Dublin to fly Palestinian flag

Ben Weich

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Dublin to fly Palestinian flag
UK News

Government drops pledge to aid 3,000 child refugees

Rosa Doherty

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Government drops pledge to aid 3,000 child refugees
UK News

Sacks defends Mike Pence speechwriting role

Marcus Dysch

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Sacks defends Mike Pence speechwriting role
UK News

Livingstone decision shameful, says Tom Watson

Lee Harpin and Marcus Dysch

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Livingstone decision shameful, says Tom Watson
UK News

Anti-Israel conference faces delay

Lee Harpin

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Anti-Israel conference faces delay