Profile and Aitken Alexander launch £25,000 prize

11 February 2019

Profile Books and Aitken Alexander have partnered to launch the Profile Aitken Alexander Non-Fiction Prize for the best debut trade non-fiction proposal from an academic. The prize is an advance of £25,000 and a publication agreement with Profile Books. Shortlisted submissions will receive editorial development and support from agents at Aitken Alexander Associates.

The competition is open to those with a PhD or an equivalent qualification, graduate-level lecturers in a University or College, and senior researchers at an institute or think-tank. The submission must be for an author’s first trade non-fiction book and must be focused on an area in which the entrant holds a post-graduate qualification.

Submissions must be written in English and take the form of a 3,000-4,000 word outline or essay setting out the intended subject, argument and approach for a non-fiction trade book. The closing date for entries is 30 April and the winner and two runners-up will be selected by a panel of judges that includes Ed Lake, Editorial Director at Profile Books, Chris Wellbelove, Director at Aitken Alexander, Matthew Reisz, Books Editor at Times Higher Education, historian and professor Margaret MacMillan and mathematician and author Eugenia Cheng. The winner and runners-up will be announced in October 2019.

Ed Lake, Editorial Director at Profile Books said ‘Profile was built on great non-fiction, from stars like Mary Beard and Kwame Anthony Appiah, as well as our brilliant fellow judges, Margaret MacMillan and Eugenia Cheng. This prize is designed to spot the non-fiction stars of the future – the thinkers, explorers, researchers and communicators who can explain the world, and in so doing change it, one reader at a time.’

Chris Wellbelove added ‘Whether or not we’re in an Age of Experts, the last few years have shown that there is continuing appetite among readers for good and original ideas, engagingly expressed. UK institutions are full of talented academics working on such ideas, and we are delighted to be launching this prize with Profile to find them.’

Judge Matthew Reisz said ‘It is always fascinating when academics manage to bring serious scholarship to a wider readership by writing a trade book. I look forward to learning more about some of the rising stars this prize is bound to uncover.’

For more information and to enter please visit