[Pictured L-R: Peter Frankopan & Maya Jasanoff]
“When you are writing history,” says Peter Frankopan, “you need a sprinkling of fairy dust, something that allows your prose to spring from the page, and to bring the reader with you.” Last year, when the author of The Silk Roads and, just out, The New Silk Roads, was a juror for the international Cundill History Prize, the jury crowned Maya Jasanoff’s The Dawn Watch as its overall winner. The Harvard Professor’s genre-bending account of the life and world of Joseph Conrad was the perfect example of the kind of book this prize champions: a well-researched, scholarly work of history that is so well written it appeals to a wide general international readership. Hard history that’s also a great read.
This year, the world’s leading history prize comes to The London Book Fair: on Wednesday, 13 March at 17:30, Peter Frankopan will be in conversation with Antonia Maioni, Dean of Arts at McGill University. McGill administers the $75,000 prize, the richest for a work of non-fiction in English. They will be at the English PEN Literary Salon to discuss why the best history writing deserves an international stage. How can well-researched, well-written history find a growing audience? How can prizes help? And is there is such a thing as global history?
The Cundill History Prize comes to The London Book Fair to celebrate great history writing, and to seek even more submissions from all parts of the world, and across global topics. The prize is open to authors from anywhere in the world – regardless of nationality or place of residence – and to translations into English. With time to enter until April 1, this is a unique chance for international publishers, both trade and academic, to find out more about this exceptional opportunity, and submit their best work.
“At McGill University, we continue with our ambitious mission for the Cundill History Prize to champion the highest quality historical scholarship produced anywhere in the world,” says Antonia Maioni. “It’s so exciting to be at The London Book Fair this year, and to bring this important prize to the attention of an even wider global publishing community.”
The prize attracts some of the world’s most eminent historians and authors as jurors – from Margaret MacMillan to Caroline Elkins; Carol Berkin to Amanda Foreman – and this year another outstanding panel will spend the summer reading the best history books.
2019 will be another big year for the prize: events are earmarked for New York (on the shortlist) and Toronto (the finalists) in addition to the prestigious Cundill History Prize winner gala at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts in November, when the 2019 winner will be presented with a cheque of US$75,000, and the two runners-up receive US$10,000 each.
To find out more about the Cundill History Prize, and how to enter, please visit: www.cundillprize.com