OXFORD art historian David Boyd Haycock is cracking open the Champagne for the second time after being shortlisted for a major book award days after the birth of his second child.

A Crisis of Brilliance has been named by The Writers’ Guild as one of three books in line for the non-fiction award.

It is about a brilliant generation of 20th-century artists, including Dora Carrington and Paul Nash, who studied at the Slade School of Drawing, Painting and Sculpture before the First World War.

Mr Boyd Haycock lives in Headington with wife Susannah Wilson, son Nathaniel and new arrival Genevieve.

He is the first writer to look at the artists’ formative years at home and art college, and the inter-relationship between the most important British artists of the 20th century.

Their time at The Slade was described by their teacher Henry Tonks as the school’s ‘last crisis of brilliance’, hence the book’s title.

Shortly after finishing it, Mr Boyd Hancock was made redundant from his job as a curator at the National Maritime Museum in London.

He said: “The redundancy money gave me the impetus to start a new career. I had already written several academic books, but I decided to go freelance.”

He will be rubbing shoulders with celebrities at the awards ceremony on Sunday, November 21.

They include TV and film writers such as Armando Iannucci and Mark Steel along with the writers of Doctor Who and Coronation Street.

The awards are the only ones judged by fellow writers.

Also shortlisted for best non-fiction book are Joshua Levine for Beauty And Atrocity and Rupert Thomson for This Party’s Got To Stop.

Meanwhile another Oxford author, Dan Holloway won a ‘literary death match’ at London’s Concrete club in Shoreditch on October 13.

Authors had to impress judges with their short story and Mr Holloway triumphed with The Last Fluffer in La La Land. Mr Holloway is founder of the Year Zero Writers group in the city.