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(With picture)

A beautifully evocative memoir about a Zimbabwean childhood and youth: an extraordinary story of innocence, torture, courage and survival: an intellectual firework which looks at history from a totally original perspective: a compelling and readable work which examines Hitler's Germany and the Second World War through the life of one extraordinary man.

These are the four books which make up the shortlist for the 1996 NCR Book Award announced today (22 April). One of the authors will go on the win the £25,000 prize and all four authors receive an award to the value of £2,500 each from sponsors NCR. This brings the total prize value of the NCR Book Award to £35,000, making it the most valuable annual book prize in the UK.

The shortlisted titles are:

   MUKIWA: A WHITE BOY IN AFRICA    Peter Godwin    Picador       £16.99 
   THE RAILWAY MAN                  Eric Lomax      Cape          £15.99 
   LANDSCAPE & MEMORY               Simon Schama    HarperCollins £30.00 
   ALBERT SPEER                     Gitta Sereny    Macmillan     £25.00

The judges for the 1996 Award are current affairs journalist, television presenter and author Jeremy Paxman: bookseller Sue Butterworth: bestselling author Nick Hornby: journalist and writer Cristina Odone and historical biographer and author Andrew Roberts.

Jeremy Paxman, chairman of the judges, comments: "Judges always say that the decision was a difficult one. In fact, that wasn't entirely true in that three of the books chose themselves. But there was a great deal of debate about the fourth....'

The winner will be announced at the Awards Dinner at London's Dorchester Hotel on Tuesday, May 22.

NCR is a business computing company whose capabilities include excellent computer technology, worldwide support and professional services, and specialised solutions for the retail, financial and communication industries. NCR Corporation has more than 38,000 employees serving customers, directly and indirectly, in more than 190 countries around the globe. Its corporate headquarters is in Dayton, Ohio, which also houses NCR's computer, services communications and Systemedia businesses. The company's financial business is based in London: its retail business is located in Atlanta.

Notes to Editors

1. The NCR Book Award, now in its ninth year, is the most valuable annual book prize in the UK. It was set up to stimulate interest in non-fiction and is the UK's major prize dedicated to non-fiction.

2. 146 titles, published in the UK between April 1, 1995 and March 31, 1996, were entered for this year's Award.

3. The shortlisted authors and judges may be available for interview. Colour and black-and-white photographs are available for the press.

4. Previous winners of the NCR Book Award are:

   1988    David Thompson     NAIRN IN DARKNESS AND LIGHT (Hutchinson) 
   1989    Joe Simpson        TOUCHING THE VOID (Jonathan Cape) 
   1990    Simon Schama       CITIZENS (Viking) 
   1991    Claire Tomalin     THE INVISIBLE WOMAN (Viking) 
   1992    Jung Chang         WILD SWANS (HarperCollins) 
   1993    Peter Hennessy     NEVER AGAIN: BRITAIN 1945-51 (Jonathan Cape) 
   1994    John Campbell      EDWARD HEATH (Jonathan Cape) 
   1995    Mark Hudson        COMING BACK BROCKENS (Jonathan Cape)

5. Shortlist details:

   Peter Godwin         Picador             £16.99 (hardback)

"A very good book, the best to come out of the War for Independence in Zimbabwe so far. Its strength is its balance, and the width of the experience of the author, who had many black friends, was a liberal, brought up by liberal parents, but then had to fight in a war he hated. It is an informative book, full of history, and should be in the library of anyone interested in Southern Africa." (Doris Lessing)

Peter Godwin is an award-winning journalist and co-author of a history of the UDI, RHONDESIANS NEVER DIE. He was a foreign correspondent for the Sunday Times and currently makes documentaries for the BBC. He lives in London.

Interview enquiries to Alison Menzies at Picador on 0171-881 8180

   Eric Lomax           Jonathan Cape       £15.99 (hardback)
  • Vintage £6.99 (paperback - June)

"THE RAILWAY MAN follows Eric Lomax's journey from a quiet, traditional upbringing in Scotland, through the nightmare world of Far East POW camps... Unable to speak of his experience, the former POW grows distant from family and friends and lives in a secret world obsessed with the crimes committed by the Japanese. More than forty years on he finds at last people who understand; who let him begin to come to terms with it. Finally he returns to Thailand to meet the very Japanese whose murder he has contemplated. The outcome of this extraordinary confrontation is remarkable. I turned the last page weeping tears of sorrow, pride and gratitiude." (John McCarthy)

Eric Lomax was born in 1919. He now lives in Berwick-upon-Tweed.

Interview enquiries to Stephanie Sweeney at Jonathan Cape on 0171-973 9740

   Simon Schama         HarperCollins       £30.00 (hardback) 
   -                    Fontana Press       £16.99 (paperback)

"This is one of the most intelligent, original, stimulating, self-indulgent, perverse and irresistibly enjoyable books that I have ever had the delight of reviewing." (Philip Ziegler, Daily Telegraph)

Simon Schama is Old Dominion Professor of the Humanities at Colombia University, New York and author of PATRIOTS AND LIBERATORS, THE EMBARRASSMENT OF RICHES, CITIZENS and DEAD CERTAINTIES: UNWARRANTED SPECULATIONS. CITIZENS won the NCR Book Award in 1990.

Interview enquiries to Helen Ellis at HarperCollins on 0181-741 7070

ALBERT SPEER: His Battle with Truth

Gitta Sereny Macmillan £25.00 (hardback)

"A remarkable new biography - arguably the most important and certainly the most fascinating book about the Nazi era published in the last ten years... Gitta Sereny has written a masterpiece." (Robert Harris, Sunday Times)

Gitta Sereny was born in Vienna in the 1920s. She is one of the most distinguished journalists in Europe. The bulk of her journalistic work in the UK has been for the Daily Telegraph Magazine, the Sunday Times, The Times, and the Independent. She has also written extensively for the New York times, the New York Review of Books, Die Zeit, Le Nouvel Observateur and Sweden's Dagens Nyheter. She and her husband, the photographer Don Honeyman, live in London.

Interview enquiries to Minna Fry at Macmillan on 0171-881 8000

6. The UNS picture to accompany this story will be transmitted by the PA later this afternoon (Friday). There will be no charge for using the copy or the picture.


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