RSL Giles St Aubyn Awards for Non-Fiction

The Royal Society of Literature has established annual awards for first-time writers of non-fiction – in perpetuity – because of a generous bequest from author and RSL Fellow Giles St Aubyn. Giles St Aubyn, who died in 2015 aged 89, wrote 14 non-fiction books and taught history for nearly 40 years at Eton College. A nephew of Vita Sackville-West, he counted John Betjeman, John le Carré and The Queen Mother among his friends. Read the press release announcing the Awards. The new awards build on the RSL’s experience of a previous form of non-fiction awards, generously supported by Jerwood Charitable Foundation from 2004 to 2016. More information on the RSL Jerwood Awards.

The 2018 Awards

Entries are open for the second year of The RSL Giles St Aubyn Awards for Non-Fiction. Two awards – one of £10,000, one of £5,000 – are offered to support writers to complete their first commissioned works of non-fiction. This year’s judges are: Ian Sinclair (Chair), Laura Bates, Aida Edemariam and Fiona St Aubyn.

The writer must be a resident of the United Kingdom or the Republic of Ireland and have a publishing contract for their first work of non-fiction.

Please download an application form which contains full submission details.

Applications must be submitted by Wednesday 19 September, 5pm by email to Martha Stenhouse, General Manager:

Or by post to:

Martha Stenhouse
RSL Giles St Aubyn Awards for Non-Fiction
Royal Society of Literature
Somerset House
London WC2R 1LA


The 2017 Awards

The recipients of the inaugural RSL Giles St Aubyn Awards for first commissioned works of non-fiction were:

£10,000 – David Farrier Footprints: In Search of Future Fossils (4th Estate, 2019)
£5,000 – Lisa Woollett Scavenging (John Murray, 2019)

Judges’ Special Commendation is awarded to Joanna Jolly for From the Red River: The Story of the Murder of a Canadian Aboriginal Girl, Tina Fontaine (Virago, 2018).

The 2017 Awards were judged by Richard Holmes (chair), Afua Hirsch and Fiona St Aubyn and were presented on Wednesday 29 November 2017 by HRH The Duke of Kent, a lifelong friend of Giles St Aubyn. Read the 2017 press release.

I am thrilled and delighted to receive an RSL Giles St Aubyn Award. The story of the future fossils we’re making and the world we will leave behind for future generations is one of the most important there is, and I feel honoured to have the support of the Royal Society of Literature in telling it.
David Farrier, 2017 RSL Giles St Aubyn Award recipient

I am delighted. To have the support and encouragement of the award at this stage of the book is wonderful and will allow me the time to make it as good as I possibly can.
Lisa Woollett, 2017 RSL Giles St Aubyn Award recipient