Controversial India-born writer Salman Rushdie’s autobiographical account Joseph Anton figures in the long list of 14 titles for the 2012 Samuel Johnson Prize for Non-Fiction, worth 20,000 pounds.
The long list includes Katherine Boo’s Behind the Beautiful Forevers, which describes life in a Mumbai slum, and books that span subjects such as economics, feathers and nuclear power.
The winner will be announced on November 12, organisers said.
Rushdie’s latest book that hit the stands this week is an account of his years in hiding under the threat of the fatwa.
Universities Minister David Willetts, who is the chairman of the panel of judges for the prize, said: "This has been a bumper year for non-fiction, and as judges we’ve enjoyed encountering new places and faces as well as enjoying classic stories being told afresh.”
He added: “The long-list reflects the diverse range of high quality non-fiction available for readers to enjoy, and we hope they will be inspired to pick up some of these titles and be entertained by the true stories they tell.”
The other 12 books on the long list are: One on One by Craig Brown; Into the Silence: The Great War, Mallory and the Conquest of Everest, by Wade Davis; The Man Without a Face: The Unlikely Rise of Vladimir Putin, by Masha Gessen; Feathers, by Thor Hansen; Thinking, Fast and Slow, by Daniel Kahneman; The Old Ways by Robert MacFarlane; Inside the Centre: The Life of J Robert Oppenheimer by Ray Monk; Grand Pursuit: The Story of Economic Genius by Sylvia Nasar; Winter King by Thomas Penn; The Better Angels of our Nature by Steven Pinker; The Spanish Holocaust by Paul Preston; and Strindberg A Life, by Sue Prideaux.
The judges are writer and biographer Patrick French; Paul Laity, non-fiction editor, The Guardian; Bronwen Maddox, editor, Prospect magazine; and philosopher, poet, novelist and cultural critic Professor Raymond Tallis.
Previous winners include Imperial Life in the Emerald City by Rajiv Chandrasekaran.