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Shortlist announced: Cundill International Prize in History at McGill

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Published: 19 Oct 2009

Cundill International Prize in History at McGill Winner of world's largest non-fiction historical literature award to be chosen from list of three

Shortlist announced:

Cundill International Prize in History at McGill Winner of world's largest non-fiction historical literature award to be chosen from list of three

Again this year, the jury for the Cundill International Prize in History at McGill struggled to make the shortlist from 10 very worthy contenders. "The debate was vigorous, occasionally heated, and altogether stimulating," said jury member Kenneth Whyte, who is Editor-in-Chief and Publisher of Maclean's Magazine. "There were compelling arguments made for several books that didn't make the cut, but in the end the six judges all pronounced themselves pleased with the shortlist."

The three titles selected as finalists for the 2009 Cundill International Prize in History, the world's largest non-fiction historical literature award, are:

Champlain's Dream (Knopf Canada) by Brandeis University history professor and Pulitzer Prize-winner, David Hackett Fischer.

The Comanche Empire (Yale University Press) by Finnish-born professor of Native American history at the University of California at Santa Barbara, Pekka Hämäläinen.

Going Dutch: How England Plundered Holland's Glory (Harper Publishers) by University of London professor of Renaissance Studies and journalist, Lisa Jardine.

"The three finalists are very different books, covering England's debts to Dutch culture and politics, Champlain's founding of a new civilization on the St. Lawrence, and power struggles among Natives and Europeans in the American West, yet all three feature beautiful writing, original and important ideas, and impeccable scholarship," Whyte explained.

The prize, now in its second year, will be awarded to an author who has published a book determined to have a profound literary, social and academic impact on the subject. The university will grant the equivalent of one full prize of $75,000 U.S. and two "Recognition of Excellence" awards of $10,000 U.S.

Stuart B. Schwartz was named last year's winner for his book, All Can Be Saved: Religious Tolerance and Salvation in the Iberian Atlantic World, published by Yale University Press. Prof. Schwartz will give the first Cundill Prize Lecture on Nov. 2, preceded by the public announcement of this year's winner and a panel discussion between the shortlisted authors.

The 2009 jury includes Professors Angela Schottenhammer (Munich/Mexico); and Roger Chartier (Paris); Timothy Aitken, President of the Beaverbrook Canadian Foundation; Canadian author Denise Chong; Senator Serge Joyal; and Editor-in-Chief and Publisher of Maclean's Magazine, Kenneth Whyte.

The Cundill International Prize and Lecture in History at McGill University was established in 2008 by McGill alumnus and renowned investment manager F. Peter Cundill. It is administered by McGill University's Dean of Arts, with the help of the McGill Institute for the Study of Canada (MISC).

F. Peter Cundill FCA, CFA is the Principal of The Cundill Group, a global investment management firm with offices in Vancouver and Bermuda and representation in London and Japan. His career in investment management spans more than 40 years since he graduated from McGill University with a Bachelor of Commerce degree in 1960. A native of Montreal, he has lived in London, England, for the past 30 years.

Book synopses and author bios:

http://www.mcgill.ca/cundillprize

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