Rules & Regulations

Posted on March 16th, 2014

Each year, a jury of five internationally distinguished and qualified individuals will be responsible for compiling a long-list of not more than 10 books, and a subsequent short-list of three finalists. From the short-list, the jury panel will be responsible for selecting one Grand Prize winner and two ‘Recognition of Excellence’ award winners. The decisions of the jury shall be binding.

The short-listed authors are expected to attend the awards ceremony in November in Toronto (to be confirmed) and the Grand Prize winner must be committed to returning to Montreal the following spring (i.e spring 2017) to deliver a public lecture.

Submission Guidelines

Professional book publishers are invited to submit titles for consideration:

  • All entries must be submitted by the publisher. No other entries will be accepted.
  • Publishers may submit titles to the Prize from April 1, 2016 – May 31, 2016
  • Publishers are invited to submit books published between June 1, 2015 to May 31, 2016.
  • Publishers may not submit more than 4 titles. Publishers should note that the award is to promote literary and academic achievement in history; they should submit only books that they deem to be outstanding in these regards.
  • The book must show evidence of being grounded in previous research (e.g. footnotes / endnotes / scholarly sources).
  • 7 copies of each book must be sent to the Cundill Prize once the Online Submission Form has been completed.
  • In order to be eligible, recipients will have published a book in English in the area of history.
  • Books that have been translated to English must also have been published between June 1, 2015 and May 31, 2016, regardless of the publication date of the book’s original language.
  • The earliest possible submission of books is recommended. Receipt of submissions will be acknowledged in writing by the Prize, however, only those selected as being on the long-list will be contacted afterwards.
  • It is the publisher’s responsibility to ensure that the books are received in Montreal by May 31. Any customs fees, duties or taxes and/or delays are the sole responsibility of the publisher. Books received after the deadline date cannot be considered.
  • Books may be submitted to the Cundill Prize only once.

The following are not eligible:

  • Books submitted by the author.
  • Self-published books.
  • Textbooks or instruction guides.
  • Posthumously published works.
  • Edited collections.

Publishers’ Commitments

Any eligible book which is submitted for the Cundill Prize shall not qualify for the award unless its publisher agrees to the following:

  • If a book is selected for the long list, the publisher must forward an additional 15 copies of the book to the prize administrator  as well as 15 copies to the Prize’s media partner within one week of notification.
  • The publishers must ensure that sufficient copies of the long-listed books will be available for sale by McGill University’s bookstore.
  • To spend an appropriate sum on media advertising for the winning book while mentioning the Cundill Prize in History at McGill University.
  • To prepare and encourage its nominated and/or winning author(s) to participate in all reasonable publicity associated with the Cundill Prize, including interviews, readings and appearances.
  • To provide a list of such publicity to the Cundill Prize.
  • To use their best efforts to sticker copies of the winning book on all subsequent reprints with Cundill Prize stickers (stickers will be provided by the Cundill Prize).
  • To submit the contact information, electronic photograph and biography of long-listed authors by email. The authors’ photos and biographies can be reproduced for use in newspapers, magazines and on the Cundill Prize website.

Judging Criteria

In making its selection, the jury is guided by four broad criteria:

    • Literary quality, such as clarity and elegance of the text.
    • Work grounded in historical scholarship.
    • Soundness and originality of the analysis in terms of identifying and defining the issues in question and presenting authoritative analysis and evidence to illuminate the issues and support the conclusions reached.
    • Appeal and interest to the general public, including impact and projected impact


  • If it is a translation that wins one of the awards, 10% of the award-winner’s prize will be awarded to the translator (i.e. Grand Prize winner will receive $67,500 US and the translator will receive $7,500 US; in the case of a ‘Recognition of Excellence’ prize winner, the ‘Recognition of Excellence’ award winner will be awarded $9,000 US and the translator will receive $1,000 US.

General Information

  • The winner of the Cundill Prize will be announced at an event in November 2016. So that all short-listed authors may attend that ceremony, the Cundill Prize will bear the cost of travel and overnight accommodations for authors (e.g. economy class travel and three nights’ accommodations for the short-listed authors) plus one guest each. Since the Grand Prize winner will be expected to return to Montreal the following spring, the Cundill Prize will cover the travel and accommodations, for the prize winner only, the following year.
  • The jury panel will select the long-list, short-list (finalists) and the winner in private deliberations preceding each announcement.
  • Publishers should be aware that they will receive no advance notice of the finalists or the winner and that the books submitted will not be returned.
  • The rules for eligibility and submission requirements shall be interpreted and may be revised from time to time at the discretion of the Cundill Prize Advisory Committee.