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Last Updated: Tuesday, 4 May, 2004, 18:00 GMT 19:00 UK
Bryson shortlisted for book prize
Bill Bryson
Bryson is one of six authors shortlisted
Travel writer Bill Bryson has been included in the shortlist for the Samuel Johnson Prize for Non-Fiction.

The prize, sponsored by BBC Four, aims to reward the best of non-fiction, from travel, biography, and popular science to the arts and current affairs.

Bryson appears on the shortlist with Anne Applebaum, Jonathan Bate, Anna Funder, Aidan Hartley and Tom Holland. The prize is worth 30,000 to the winner, and 1,000 to each of the six shortlisted authors.

The judges will announce the winner at an awards dinner at the Savoy Hotel, London on 15 June.

Bryson was shortlisted for his reference book The Short History of Nearly Everything from a long-list of 12.

All of us on the panel were delighted - and genuinely excited - by the final six books
Michael Wood, judge

Applebaum made the list for her book Gulag: A History of the Soviet Camps, about the origins and development of the Soviet concentration camps and Jonathan Bate for his biography of poet John Clare.

Holland is recognised for Rubicon: The Triumph and Tragedy of the Roman Republic while Hartley is shortlisted for The Zanzibar Chest: A Memoir of Love and War.

Funder was shortlisted for Stasiland: Stories From Behind the Berlin Wall - an account of Cold War Berlin through the eyes of ordinary men and women.

Michael Wood, chairman of the judges, said: "All of us on the panel were delighted - and genuinely excited - by the final six books. They seem to me to encapsulate the best in current British non-fiction, but with a strong international flavour too.

"They include powerful and moving grand sweep history, a wonderful literary biography, and a tour de force of popular science.

"But also in the list are what seemed to all of us to be compelling and stylistically innovative adventures in travel and politics in which the narrator's own person comes to the fore in a bold and fresh way."

Last year's winner of the prize was Oxford don TJ Binyon for his biography of Russian poet Alexander Pushkin.

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