Finalists: Cundill Prize in Historical Literature


The jury for the world’s most lucrative award for historical writing has narrowed this year's potential winners down to three titles


The finalists are:


Stephen Platt, last year’s grand prize winner for his book, Autumn in the Heavenly Kingdom: China, The West, And The Epic Story of The Taiping Civil War,  had this to say about how winning the largest prize in historical writing has transformed his life, “Aside from the more obvious benefits of winning a major prize such as this – greater exposure, more invitations to give talks, expressions of interest in my work from quarters I never would have expected – there is a more intangible one, namely a heightened confidence to stay the course in my particular brand of scholarship. I could not have imagined a better kind of encouragement to keep doing what I’m doing,” Platt said.

The Cundill Prize accepts books published in English – or translated to English – in the area of history. In addition to the grand prize, two “Recognition of Excellence” awards of $10,000 U.S. each are granted to the runners-up. The grand prize winner will be announced at the Cundill Prize Awards Ceremony on November 20, in Toronto.

This year’s Cundill Jury includes Garvin Brown, Executive Vice-President of the Brown-Forman Corporation; Anthony Cary, Executive Director of the Queen's-Blyth Educational Programs; Sergio Luzzatto, Modern History Professor, University of Turin and winner of the Cundill Prize in 2011 for his book Padre Pio: Miracles and Politics in a Secular Age; Marla R. Miller, Professor & Director, Public History Program and Graduate Program Director, University of Massachusetts; and Thomas H. B. Symons, Founding President and Professor Emeritus, Trent University.

The Cundill Prize in Historical Literature at McGill is the world’s most important international nonfiction historical literature prize. It was established in 2008 by McGill alumnus F. Peter Cundill, who passed away in January 2011. The prize is administered by McGill University's Dean of Arts, with the help of the McGill Institute for the Study of Canada (MISC).

Said last year’s winner Platt, “The generous funds attached to the prize, as well as the prestige it conveys, have made it possible for me to continue with my work at a more liberated pace, on my own terms, with greater intellectual freedom than ever before.”

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Contact Information

Cynthia Lee
McGill University
cynthia.lee [at]
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