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Friday, 8 February, 2002, 10:08 GMT
BBC Four to sponsor book prize
The Samuel Johnson prize was created in 1999
The Samuel Johnson prize was created in 1999
The BBC is to sponsor one of the country's leading non-fiction book awards, the Samuel Johnson prize.

The deal will run over three years and the ceremony will be shown on the new arts and culture digital channel BBC Four.

The deal comes after the corporation dropped coverage of this year's Whitbread Prize, normally carried by BBC Two but this year went untelevised.

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

'Commonality'

Stuart Proffitt, chairman of the award committee, said he was delighted with the new deal.

He said: "There is a real commonality of purpose between the prize and BBC Four and it makes perfect sense to join forces at this exciting time for us both."

The award will now be renamed the BBC Four Samuel Johnson Prize For Non-Fiction.

The prize is worth 30,000 for the winner with shortlisted writers earning 1,000 each.

Michael Burleigh won last year's prize
Michael Burleigh won last year's prize

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.

BBC Four replaces BBC Knowledge from 2 March.

It will run from 1900 to 0100 nightly and be one of the corporation's three new non-subscription digital TV channels.

The other two are channels for children - CBBC for children aged six to 13, and CBeebies for those aged under six years - and both are launched on Monday.

Along with arts programmes, BBC Four will show documentaries and programmes covering science, history, news, debates and music.

See also:

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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