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Seriously good writing by the most engaging thinkers of our time

A brief history of The Bodley Head

The Bodley Head publishes influential, compelling non-fiction that explores the ideas, the people, the human obsessions that shape our world. Our books come from some of the leading writers and thinkers of our time, addressing a huge range of subjects: science, reportage and current affairs, medicine, memoir, history, maths, biography, music, natural history, smart thinking and economics.

The Bodley Head was first founded in 1887 and today we publish an international range of prize-winning authors including Siddhartha Mukherjee and Stephen Greenblatt, Lisa Randall and Misha Glenny, Simon Schama and Karen Armstrong.

Recently, writers as diverse as Ai Weiwei, Stephen Witt, Edith Hall, Paul Kalanithi, Cedric Villani, Timothy Snyder, Ian Mortimer, Lewis Dartnell and Ed Yong have joined the list – united by their originality, by their expertise and by their gifts as communicators.  

Books published by The Bodley Head include:

Misha Glenny


Nick Clegg


Alison Gopnik

The Gardener and The Carpenter

Ed Yong

I Contain Multitudes

Mark Thompson

Enough Said


Lisa Randall

Dark Matters and the Dinosaurs


Paul Kalanithi

When Breath Becomes Air

Gideon Rachman


Hitler book cover by Volker Ullrich

Yanis Varoufakis

And The Weak Must Suffer What They Must?

The Bodley Head FT Essay Prize

The Bodley Head FT prize aims to discover young talent from around the world in long-form essay writing. The prize has led to many new and exciting opportunities for winners and runners-up. Hedley Twidle, winner of the first Bodley Head FT Essay Prize, is now a regular contributor to the FT. Edward Posnett won in 2014 for his essay ‘Eiderdown’ and has his first book, Harvest, due for publication with The Bodley Head in 2019. And 2015’s winner, Laurence Blair, has also been signed up by The Bodley Head to write his first book, which expands on his essay, ‘Dreams of the Sea’, and will be published in 2020.

The 2018 Bodley Head FT prize was launched on 24th March 2018. The competition is open to anyone between 18 and 35 years old. Judges will be looking for a dynamic, authoritative and lively essay of no more than 3,500 words in English. It can be journalistic, a case study, wide-ranging or minutely focused. In keeping with the ethos of both sponsors, it can address any topic — from finance and current affairs to history and scientific discovery. We aren’t looking for a particular subject; we’re simply looking for writing that brings its subject alive, and turns the reader’s head with its style.

Deadline for submissions for the 2018 prize is 31st May 2018 (22.00 UK time). For further information, including Terms and Conditions, and to submit your essay, visit You can also follow the competition using #BHFTessaycomp



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