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“This is a golden age for history writing”: submissions open for $75k Cundill History Prize

The $75,000 prize, which rewards the best history writing in English, is now open for submissions – and this year’s jury also has a new chair…

Published: February 25, 2020 at 4:50 pm
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British historian Peter Frankopan will chair this year’s Cundill History Prize, it has been announced.


The professor of global history at Oxford University will lead a panel of top historians and authors to decide the shortlist, finalists and winner of the international prize for history writing – which opened today to new submissions.

Commenting on his appointment, Frankopan said: “This is something of a golden age for history writing.

“While it can be hard to separate outstanding books that look at different aspects of the past in different ways, it is wonderful to have the chance to celebrate and reward first class scholarship.”

What is the Cundill History Prize?

Rewarding the best history writing in English, the Cundill History Prize awards $75,000 annually to the book that embodies historical scholarship, originality, literary quality and broad appeal. The two runners-up each receive $10,000.

What do the judges look for? Frankopan stressed the importance of accessibility for “specialists and readers” alike. “In our noisy, complex and disruptive age, making sense of the world around us is more important than ever,” he said.

Julia Lovell's Maoism: A Global History, described as “a revelation” by historian Alan Taylor, came first in the 2019 Cundill History Prize. Previous winners also include Harvard professor Maya Jasanoff and British historian Daniel Beer.

The 2020 shortlist will be announced in September, with the finalists revealed in October at the Frankfurt Book Fair. The Cundill History Prize Gala and winner announcement will take place in November in Montreal. The prize is open to submissions from around the world until 20 April 2020. 

Find out more at www.cundillprize.com, or on TwitterFacebook and Instagram

HistoryExtra is a media partner for the Cundill History Prize.


Endowed by F Peter Cundill, a McGill alumnus, philanthropist, and renowned global investor, the Cundill History Prize is open to books from anywhere in the world, regardless of the author’s nationality or place of residence, as well as works translated into English. Almost 400 titles are submitted by international trade and university publishers every year.


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