Intelligence Book of the Year Award - 2012
The award is open to all non-fiction titles concerned with the world of intelligence and espionage published in English and which, in the opinion of the judges, adds substantially to the published literature.
The winning title / author will receive a £3,000 cash prize and all authors from the titles short-listed for the award will be offered complimentary stays at the St Ermin’s Hotel. The award for 2011 will be announced on Tuesday 12th June at a lunchtime event at the hotel. An initial long list of titles has already been compiled and the judges expect to announce a short-list before Easter.
The St Ermin’s Hotel has a long and rich connection with a variety of UK and foreign secret organizations. First opened as a hotel in 1899 its close proximity to Broadway Buildings, the headquarters of the British Secret Intelligence Service (SIS or MI6) throughout the 1930s and 40s made it a convenient and discreet venue to meet agents.
In fact, the St Ermin’s Hotel became so familiar to the British intelligence community that in March 1936 SIS took over an entire floor to accommodate a new organization known only as ‘Section D’ (D for destruction). Headed by Colonel Lawrence Grand, his task was to prepare plans for the sabotage of strategic sites in Europe that might fall in Nazi hands in the event of another world war.
In 1938 Arthur Owens, the double agent codenamed SNOW by the British and JOHNNY by the Abwehr, was interrogated by Naval Intelligence Division as well as MI5 officers. Later, when SNOW attempted to penetrate the British Union of Fascists, he claimed that the hotel was one of several fronts run for the benefit of what he described as ‘the British Secret Services’.
In July 1940 Section D was absorbed into an entirely new Special Operations Executive, based in Baker Street, which continued to use the hotel as a meeting-place and operational headquarters, extended into the adjacent block where there was a suite of unmarked offices.
In his memoirs, My Silent War, Kim Philby recounted how he had been interviewed at the hotel when he was first approached to join the Secret Intelligence Service, and had visited Guy Burgess at his office in the building.
Cambridge Five traitors Philby and Maclean are reputed to frequented the Caxton Bar whilst the hotel’s continued proximity to government and security forces offices ensures its continued use by intelligence officers both domestic and foreign.
Members of the judging panel:
Andrew Lownie has written several books including a biography of John Buchan, edited the collection North American Spies and is the author of a forthcoming life of the spy Guy Burgess. A former journalist specialising in intelligence, he has been a literary agent since 1985, representing many authors in the espionage field.
Daniel J. Mulvenna is an intelligence bibliophile and historian, retired from the Security Service of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police after 22 years’ service as a counter intelligence officer. Based in Washington, D.C. for the past 12 years he has lectured to Government security and intelligence agencies on counter-intelligence and counter-terrorism.
Glenmore Trenearn-Harvey is a British intelligence analyst, writer, broadcaster and lecturer on security, intelligence, espionage and terrorism. He is Editor-in-chief of the World Intelligence Review and associate editor of Eye Spy Intelligence Magazine.
Michael Smith is an author and screenwriter; his many books on espionage include the No 1 bestseller Station X and Foley: The Spy Who Saved 10,000 Jews. His most recent is an unofficial history of MI6 - SIX: The Real James Bonds 1909-1939. He was previously an award-winning journalist for the BBC, the Daily Telegraph and the Sunday Times.
NIGEL WEST is an intelligence historian specialising in security and intelligence topics. He is the author of more than thirty non-fiction titles and was voted by the Observer ‘The Experts’ Expert’ in his field. He is also the first recipient of a Lifetime Literature Achievement Award from the U.S. Association of Former Intelligence Officers.