Central PA's LGBT News Source
American author David France has won Britain’s leading nonfiction literary award with a book about the activists who fought the AIDS crisis in the 1980s and 90s.
How to Survive a Plague was awarded the 30,000-pound ($40,000) Baillie Gifford Prize at a ceremony Thursday in London.
The book recounts how grassroots groups such as ACT UP pushed the government medical establishment to develop treatments for the deadly new disease.
Last May France told The Central Voice:
"Our history is important,” David France tells Central Voice. With many from the AIDS Generation missing, “there’s been a gap between Baby Boomers and Millennials and the telling of our stories,” he points out.
How to Survive a Plague, first a documentary movie and now a backstory book, France fills in the gap by telling how LGBT Americans organized to fight the spread of AIDS—and the contempt of the government and medical establishments. The film was an Oscar finalist, won a Directors Guild Award and a Peabody Award, and was nominated for two Emmys.
France called it “a witness account of the plague years of the AIDS epidemic … where there was no effective medical treatment for an HIV infection and death was almost certain.”
The book is a follow-up to France’s Academy Award-nominated 2012 documentary of the same name.
Formerly the Samuel Johnson Prize, the award recognizes nonfiction English-language books from any country.