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Monday, 29 April, 2002, 23:04 GMT 00:04 UK
Enigma author on Johnson panel
David Dimbleby
David Dimbleby will chair the panel of judges
The writer of wartime movie Enigma, Robert Harris, has been unveiled as one of the judges for Britain's richest non-fiction literary prize.

The BBC Four Samuel Johnson Prize rewards the best in non-fiction from biographies and travel to science and arts books, with the winner receiving 30,000.

Robert Harris
Robert Harris' Archangel novel is set to be turned into a Hollywood movie
BBC broadcaster David Dimbleby will be chairing the panel of judges.

Joining him will be Sunday Times literary editor Caroline Gascoigne, the writer and critic Bonnie Greer and geologist and scientific writer Richard Fortey.

Robert Harris completes the panel, which will soon begin the process of whittling the contenders down to a long-list of 25.

Harris is a former BBC broadcaster, having worked on such programmes as Tonight, Panorama and Newsnight.

He went on to become political editor of The Observer newspaper.

As well as writing dramas for BBC and Channel 4 such as God Bless You , Mr Chamberlain, he has written several non-fiction books including Selling Hitler and A Higher Form of Killing.

His first novel, Fatherland in 1992, was a bestseller and was followed by Enigma, based on the true tale of the wartime code-breaking machines.

Mel Gibson

Enigma was turned into a movie by Mick Jagger's production company and starred Kate Winslet and Dougray Scott.

The film rights to Archangel have been bought up by Hollywood actor Mel Gibson.

Michael Burleigh
Michael Burleigh won last year's prize
Digital arts and culture channel BBC Four recently announced it would sponsor the award and televise the ceremony in a three-year deal.

The Samuel Johnson Prize was created in 1999 and this year it will be held on 24 June.

The long-list of 25 books will be named in May, followed shortly after by the shortlist.

Each shortlisted author will receive 1,000.

It is open to books in the areas of current affairs, history, politics, science, sport, travel, biography, autobiography and the arts.

Last year's winner was Michael Burleigh's The Third Reich: A New History.

This single volume work is a radical re-examination of the Third Reich, which charts the rise of Nazi Germany, recreating life under a totalitarian dictatorship.

The first winner in 1999 was Stalingrad by Antony Beevor.

See also:

08 Feb 02 | Arts
BBC Four to sponsor book prize
18 Jan 02 | TV and Radio
BBC Four promises 'culture feast'
01 Feb 02 | Arts
Tracey Emin promotes BBC Four
22 May 01 | Arts
Johnson shortlist unveiled
04 Jan 01 | Entertainment
Whitbread winners square up
13 Jun 01 | Arts
Nazi history scoops book prize
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