Calling young economists who want to write

Here’s a great incentive to do so: the Financial Times & McKinsey, who run the Business Book of the Year competition, are offering a £15,000 prize for an essay that will serve as a proposal for a book about the challenges and opportunities of economic growth.

Here’s the challenge: “The proposed book should aim to provide a compelling and enjoyable insight into future trends in business, economics, finance or management. The judges will favour authors who write with knowledge, creativity, originality and style and whose proposed books promise to break new ground, or examine pressing business challenges in original ways.”

The prize is called the Bracken Bower Prize – after Brendan Bracken, the famous FT chairman in the 1940s and 50s, creating the marvellous newspaper as we know it today, having been Minister of Information during the second world war; and Marvin Bower, who was McKinsey’s MD in the 50s and 60s.

Wikipedia says of Bracken: “He was particularly vociferous in his support for the independence of the BBC.” That independence is of course vital. But his employee at the Ministry of Information, George Orwell (Eric Blair), saw Bracken as the propogandist – and this is in the BBC Archive.

The BBC Archive note says: “Brendan Bracken, a flamboyant and controversial character, was Churchill’s Parliamentary Private Secretary and closest confidant before becoming Minister of Information in 1941. He is credited with transforming the ministry, which previously had fallen foul of both journalists hungry for news and defence staff wary of giving away too much information. Bracken was convinced that the public could handle the truth and he soothed relations with the BBC by using a dual approach, insisting on close scrutiny of overseas broadcasting while allowing the BBC much freer rein for domestic programmes.”

That’s by the by, though. The important thing is to get to work on your book if you fit the entry criteria.

The essay should be no more than 5,000 words. You have to be under 35 on 11 November 2014. Full details are here. The closing date for entries is 5pm (BST) on September 30th 2014. The winning essay will be published on but they can’t guarantee a book deal. Still, £15,000 is more than almost all non-fiction book advances.