Short list announced: Cundill Prize at McGill


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

The short-listed selections are:

  • Steven Pinker, The Better Angels of our Nature: The Decline of Violence in History and Its Causes (Allen Lane)
  •  Stephen Platt, Autumn in the Heavenly Kingdom: China, The West, And The Epic Story of The Taiping Civil War (Alfred A. Knopf)
  •  Andrew Preston, Sword of the Spirit, Shield of Faith:  Religion in American War and Diplomacy (Knopf Canada)

In reference to last year’s grand prize winning book The New York Review of Books wrote:   “The Italian historian Sergio Luzzatto’s remarkable book Padre Pio: Miracles and Politics in a Secular Age documents the shifting meanings of the Padre Pio phenomenon from its inception to the present. Shrewdly, Luzzatto deliberately refuses to enter the debate on the actual nature of Padre Pio’s stigmata.”

"Winning the Cundill Prize was the most rewarding experience of my academic career. I was impressed by the intellectual open-mindedness of a jury who chose to award a book on such a 'peculiar' topic as Padre Pio," said Luzzatto, the winner of the 2011 Cundill Prize in History for his book, an examination of the celebrated-yet-controversial Italian saint.

The Prize, accepts published books 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 Thursday, Nov. 29, in Montreal.

This year’s Cundill Jury includes Garvin Brown, Executive Vice President of Brown-Forman Corporation; Charles R. Kesler, senior fellow of the Claremont Institute, editor of the Claremont Review of Books; Vanessa Ruth Schwartz, Professor of History, Art History and Film, University of Southern California, and The Globe and Mail's national affairs columnist Jeffrey Simpson.

The Cundill Prize in History 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 coordinated by the McGill Institute for the Study of Canada (MISC) on behalf of the Dean of Arts.

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Contact Information

Cynthia Lee
McGill University
cynthia.lee [at]
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