The Penderyn Music Book Prize

The 2017 longlist revealed

Tuesday 20th December 2016

The Penderyn Music Book Prize is the only UK-based book prize specifically for music titles including history, theory, biography & autobiography. It was fittingly described by the NME as "the mercury prize for books" and previous winners include Jon Savage's '1966: The Year The Decade Exploded' (Faber) in 2016 and Mark Lewisohn's ‘The Beatles - All These Years: Volume One: Tune In' (Little, Brown) in 2015.

This year's judges include Sonic Youth's Thurston Moore and Rough Trade's Geoff Travis, Moore said -
“This seems to be a vanguard time for serious music journalism as printed word. In 2016 with memoirs by Bruce Springsteen et al in tandem with critical expositions from Simon Reynolds and Paul Morley it’s as if the most engaging music is being made by writers.”

Scroll down to see this years full longlist, or read on to find out a little more on our top picks. The shortlist will be announced in March with the winner announced in April 2017 at the Laugharne Weekend Festival.

Johnny Marr 'Set The Boy Free'

Set The Boy Free is the autobiography of Johnny Marr, guitarist and co-songwriter of the iconic Mancunian band The Smiths. Marr's innovative guitar work has paved the way for a host British guitar bands throughout the 90s, 00s and now. 

Listen to an exclusive audio extract from the book read by Marr himself here.

Stuart Cosgrove 'Young Soul Rebels: A Personal History of Northern Soul'

Stuart Cosgrave's compelling, intimate and (as the title suggests) personal recount of the incredible subculture that is Northern Soul.

Cosgrave takes you on a journey through every facet of the underground music scene whilst simultaneously considering a whole host of social, political and economic factors.

Brix Smith Start 'The Rise, The Fall, and The Rise'

The extraordinary story, in her own words, of Brix Smith Start. Best known for her work with the iconic post-punk band The Fall.

The story is much more than rock 'n' roll highs and lows in one of the most radically dysfunctional bands around, what emerges is a story of constant reinvention.

Check out our exclusive live videos of The Fall performing at Sub-Sonic Live (without Brix) in 2014 here.


'Born to Run' by Bruce Springsteen (Simon & Schuster)
'The Rise, The Fall, and The Rise' by Brix Smith-Start (Faber)
'Small Town Talk: Bob Dylan, The Band, Van Morrison, Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix & Friends in the Wild Years of Woodstock' by Barney Hoskyns (Faber)
'Shock and Awe: Glam Rock and its Legacy, from the Seventies to the Twenty-First Century' by Simon Reynolds (Faber)
'The Age of David Bowie' by Paul Morley (Simon & Schuster)
'Anarchy in The Year Zero: The Sex Pistols, the Clash and the Class of '76' by Clinton Heylin (Route Publishing)
'Into The Maelstrom: Music, Improvisation and the Dream of Freedom' by David Toop (Bloomsbury Academic)
'I'm Not with The Band: A Writer's Life Lost in Music' by Sylvia Patterson (Sphere)
'Young Soul Rebels: A Personal History of Northern Soul' by Stuart Cosgrove (Polygon)
'The Last Great Event: with Jimi Hendrix and Jim Morrison - When the World Came to the Isle of Wight, Volume II, 1970' by Ray Foulk and Caroline Foulk (Medina Publishing)
'1971 - Never a Dull Moment: Rock's Golden Year' by David Hepworth (Bantam)
'Testimony' by Robbie Robertson (William Heinemann)
'Set The Boy Free' by Johnny Marr (Century)
'Let’s Make Lots of Money: Secrets of a Rich, Fat, Gay, Lucky Bastard' by Tom Watkins (Virgin)


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