Craig Brown has won the Baillie Gifford prize, the UK’s top award for nonfiction, for One Two Three Four: The Beatles in Time, a take on the band that judges said had “reinvented the art of biography”.

A mix of history, diaries, autobiography, fan letters, interviews, lists and charts, Brown’s book tells the story of the group and those within their orbit. Chair of judges Martha Kearney called it “a joyous, irreverent, insightful celebration of the Beatles, a highly original take on familiar territory”.

“It’s also a profound book about success and failure which won the unanimous support of our judges. Craig Brown has reinvented the art of biography,” said Kearney. “In the deep gloom of 2020, we have discovered a shaft of light.”