We are thrilled to share the news that David France’s How To Survive a Plague has been awarded the 2017 Baillie Gifford prize for non-fiction. 

How to Survive a Plague, which is based on David France's Oscar-nominated documentary of the same name,  is the story of the grassroots AIDS activists who helped develop the essential drugs that shifted the tide in the fight against an infection that was mostly fatal at the time, changing the treatment of AIDS forever. In the book, David France weaves together the stories of dozens of individuals - many of whom were suffering from the disease - creating an insider's account of a pivotal moment in our history and one that changed the way that medical science is practised worldwide. 

Since publication in December 2016, How to Survive a Plague has also won the 2017 Green Carnation Award, the Lambda Literary Award for LGBT non-fiction and been shortlisted for the 2017 Wellcome Book Prize.

Ravi Mirchandani, Associate Publisher at Picador said: "David France's tremendous book, moving, gripping and inspiring, tells a story that has been too close to forgotten by too much of the world and close to unknown to many others, even in the US. We are all at Picador so delighted to congratulate David both on having written this magnificent and important work of witness and history and on the acknowledgement of his achievement by the Baillie Gifford judges."


Sir Peter Bazalgette, Chair of the Judges said: “In our winner we were looking for something that is incredibly well written, enjoyable and also important. How to Survive a Plague is all of these things and also works on three levels:  it’s the personal story of a gay man, the history of the prejudice that gay men faced during the AIDS epidemic and the worldwide scientific story of the search for a treatment for AIDS.”

The winner of the 2017 Baillie Gifford prize was chosen by a panel chaired by author and Chairman of ITV Sir Peter Bazalgette, together with Anjana Ahuja, science writer; Ian Bostridge, tenor and writer; Professor Sarah Churchwell, academic and writer and Razia Iqbal, journalist and broadcaster.