Simon Hattenstone

The Guardian

For more than two decades Simon Hattenstone has proven himself as one of the best interviewers in Britain – and the absolute master at getting people to open up. Whether it’s government ministers, Premier League footballers, movie stars or convicted killers, Simon’s unique and deeply human approach encourages his subjects to talk honestly and as themselves, leading to captivating copy that is devoured by Guardian readers in print and online. The Guardian’s in-house traffic measuring tool rates articles out of five “clocks” for the amount of time users of the website spend reading each article. It’s almost unheard of for one of Simon’s pieces to get fewer than five out of five clocks.

This year, Simon once again proved his range, skill, sense of humour and humanity in profiles of an incredibly varied range of subjects. His rare interview at home with Manchester City superstar Kevin de Bruyne made global headlines when the Belgian midfielder admitted that his national side’s golden generation were “too old” to win the World Cup in Qatar. The repercussions of that comment led to global headlines and even rumours of physical fallouts in the Belgian dressing room as a team of generational talents crashed out in the group stages.

Simon also managed to delicately and sensitively handle an encounter with Jack Monroe in which the often troubled chef and campaigner admitted to using money raised from her Patreon account on furniture, rather than on the products she was supposed to have sent to her subscribers.

Simon has always been a master of taking politicians out of their comfort zones. This year he has interviewed possible future members of the Cabinet, including Rachel Reeves and Emily Thornberry, as well as London mayor Sadiq Khan (who talked openly for the first time about experiencing PTSD). But perhaps most memorable was his colourful stroll through east London with shadow health secretary Wes Streeting who admitted to his desire to one day become prime minister as well as the extraordinary admission that he loves to "binge drink".

Beloved by Guardian readers – and his editors – for writing profiles that are never less than extremely readable, this year Simon has delivered again and again.