RSL Giles St Aubyn Awards for Non-Fiction

The Royal Society of Literature is establishing 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.

I wish to help aspiring authors to get their works published, particularly authors of works of non-fiction which require a good deal of preliminary research. The sort of authors I have in mind would be those who have not already been published and who are struggling to get their feet on the first rung of the ladder.
Giles St Aubyn, on leaving his bequest to the RSL


We applaud Giles St Aubyn’s generosity and trust this award for new non-fiction writers will become a key fixture in the literary calendar.
Lisa Appignanesi, Chair of the RSL

As a teacher Giles sought to find potential and bring it out in others, and as a writer he fully understood the importance of research and having time to write. The RSL Giles St Aubyn Awards for Non-Fiction encompass these three things: they encourage exceptionally gifted authors, give them the wherewithal to research and, importantly, they can buy them time to write. Giles’s family is so pleased and proud that his memory lives on in the RSL Giles St Aubyn Awards for Non-Fiction.
Fiona St Aubyn, awards judge and niece of the late Giles St Aubyn.

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 these awards.

The 2017 Awards

Entries are open for the first 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:

Richard Holmes – biographer and RSL Fellow (chair),
Afua Hirsch – journalist whose first book Brit(ish) will be published in 2018,
Fiona St Aubyn – author and niece of Giles St Aubyn.

The writer must be a resident of the United Kingdom or the Republic of Ireland, or have been a resident in the UK or ROI for the past three years.

Please download an application form which contains full submission details. Applications must be submitted by Monday 2 October 2017 and addressed to:

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

Or via email to