The State of the Nation: British Theatre Since 1945, by Guardian critic and What’s On Stage columnist Michael Billington, has been shortlisted for this year’s Theatre Book Prize. Billington’s tome, which examines post-war Britain from Atlee to Blair through a theatrical lens, is one of six books shortlisted from more than 80 publisher submissions for the annual prize.

Billington’s competes with: Anne Varty’s Children and Theatre in Victorian Britain, London’s Grand Guignol and the Theatre of Horror by Richard J Hand and Michael Wilson, David Worrall’s Harlequin Empire: Race, Ethnicity and the Drama of the Popular Enlightenment, Julie Kavanagh’s Rudolf Nureyev biography and Spectacular Flirtations by Gill.

Founded in 1997 by the Society for Theatre Research, the Theatre Book Prize was created to encourage the writing and publication of books on theatre history and practice. All new works of original research first published in English are eligible except for play texts and studies of drama as literature. This year’s prize is judged by actress Sian Phillips, academic Jeffrey Richards and Metro theatre critic Claire Allfree. The winner is announced on 1 April 2008.

Good luck, Michael!