Shortlist for world's richest history prize unveiled in London

News - Prizes Wednesday, 26 September 2018

Eight titles in hunt for Cundill History Prize announced at Canada House as part of inaugural Festival America event

The full shortlist for the $75,0000 prize is:-

Anne Applebaum Red Famine - Stalin’s War on Ukraine (PRH UK, US, Can)
Ron Chernow Grant (Head of Zeus UK, PRH Can/US)
Caroline Fraser Prairie Fires - The American Dreams of Laura Ingalls Wilder (Little,Brown UK; Metropolitan Books Can/US)
Joshua Freeman Behemoth - A History of the Factory and the Making of the Modern World (W.W. Norton UK, US, Can)
Tim Grady A Deadly Legacy - German Jews and the Great War (Yale University Press UK, US, Can)
Maya Jasanoff The Dawn Watch - Joseph Conrad in a Global World (HarperCollins UK, PRH US,Can)
David I. Kertzer The Pope Who Would Be King - The Exile of Pius IX and The Emergence of Modern Europe (OUP UK, PRH US, Can)
Sam White A Cold Welcome - The Little Ice Age and Europe’s Encounter with North America (Harvard University Press UK, US, Can)

Red Famine won the Duff Cooper prize for Anne Applebaum in May, making her the first author to win that prize twice, and she has already won the Cundill before, in 2013. Three Pulitzers have been won by the shortlisted authors in total.

Prof Mark Gilbert, chair of the Jury, said: "The eight books we have chosen – by historians working at the height of their powers – range across cultural, political, social history and biography. What unites them all is the craftsmanship of their authors: their dedication to unravelling the past and making it come alive for a contemporary audience. Every book on this shortlist will be read by specialists, but each one will find a more general readership."

Prof Peter Frankopan, historian and juror, said: "It has been a challenge to narrow the prize down to just eight books, all of which show the vibrancy and brilliance of contemporary historians to shed new light on the past. The quality of the research and writing has been breath-taking and shows that contemporary non-fiction writing is in very good health. We are going to need a lot of coffee to decide a winner!"

The international Cundill History Prize is run by Montreal’s McGill University, one of Canada’s leading universities.

The three finalists will be announced in Toronto, on October 31. The winner will be revealed at
the Cundill History Prize Gala in Montreal, on November 15, alongside a series of events at McGill University including the annual Cundill History Prize Lecture, which will be delivered by the British historian Daniel Beer, who won last year’s prize for The House of the Dead: Siberian Exile Under the Tsars, his ground-breaking study of Siberian penal colonies.

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