Essential non-fiction

For everybody who loves a good checklist, The Guardian has put together a literary register of the 100 greatest non-fiction books ever written.

It’s always a difficult task, pooling the preferences of many a book worm and having to whittle down the selection from the wealth of excellent non-fiction that exists out there. Debate is sure to kick off!

During the teething stages of 500 Essential Cult Books, many cups of tea were poured and never ending email threads shared with author Gina McKinnon, who did an ace job of collating the great reads from the world’s collective bookshelf.

Many of the titles that made the grade reappear on The Guardian‘s list (to our delight), which coincides with the 2011 Samuel Johnson Prize for Non-Fiction. Judging panelist Ben Macintyre is quoted as saying, “The wealth of superb non-fiction writing is so great at the moment that we expect the task of selecting an overall winner to be demanding and hotly-debated, but also tremendously enjoyable.”


500 Essential Cult Books includes fiction as well and tackles the sticky question of ‘what makes a book cult?’, but we’ll be eagerly awaiting the shortlist announcements for future reprints!




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Ellie Wilson

Ellie Wilson is Senior Project Editor at Ilex Press. She guides the creative team's ideas past go and around the board until they are ready to become books.

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