Judges reveal the finalists of the 2020 Cundill History Prize

The three finalists for the 2020 Cundill History Prize have been revealed…

The three shortlisted finalists for the 2020 Cundill History Prize.

Books on the rise of the East India Company, the real lives of the Aztecs and an influential revolt by enslaved people have been announced as the finalists of the the 2020 Cundill History Prize.

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The final trio of authors in contention for the prestigious history award was revealed on 20 October in an online broadcast hosted by chair of the jury Peter Frankopan. They are William Dalrymple, for The Anarchy: The Relentless Rise of the East India Company; Camilla Townsend, for Fifth Sun: A New History of the Aztecs; and Vincent Brown, for Tacky’s Revolt: The Story of an Atlantic Slave War.

All three finalists will be awarded $10,000, with the winner – to be announced in an online presentation on 3 December – also going on to receive $75,000.

HistoryExtra is a media partner of the prize, and we have featured all three of the authors on our podcast. You can listen to those interviews below on on our podcast page.

“These are three magnificent books chosen from an extraordinarily strong shortlist,” said Frankopan. “The works of the finalists shine new light on topics that are riveting, revelatory and revolutionary. But they do not just offer important insights into the past; they also each have a striking resonance for the world around us in 2020.”


Listen to podcast interviews with the three finalists:

William Dalrymple, for The Anarchy: The Relentless Rise of the East India Company


Camilla Townsend, for Fifth Sun: A New History of the Aztecs

Vincent Brown, for Tacky’s Revolt: The Story of an Atlantic Slave War

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Previous winners of the $75,000 prize include Julia Lovell, Applebaum, Diarmaid MacCulloch and Maya Jasanoff. You can read more about the full shortlist here.