Michael Ignatieff will chair the 2021 Cundill History Prize

The historian, author, university professor and former Leader of the Liberal Party of Canada Michael Ignatieff will chair the jury for the 2021 Cundill History Prize.

Prof. Ignatieff said: “I’m a historian by training and like nothing better than history books that upend our understanding of the present. So it’s a wonderful opportunity to chair this year’s Cundill History Prize and go in search of great history writing that tells a compelling story, is grounded in world-class research and changes our understanding of the contemporary world.”


LISTEN to this dedicated winner's episode of CBC Ideas, with Camilla Townsend in conversation with host Nahlah Ayed and reading from her Cundill-winning Fifth Sun.

READ Camilla Townsend's interview with the Globe & Mail newspaper, alongside finalists Vincent Brown and William Dalrymple, also featuring extracts from all three books.

LISTEN to this Cundill-themed History Hit episode on Timeline, with Camilla Townsend and finalists Vincent Brown and William Dalrymple in conversation with host Dan Snow.


RE-WATCH the 2020 Winner Ceremony of the Cundill History Prize, in partnership with History Hit and hosted by Dan Snow, featuring Jury Chair Peter Frankopan and the three finalists.


RE-WATCH the Cundill Forum, with 2020 finalists Vincent Brown, William Dalrymple and Camilla Townsend in a fascinating conversation on 'Heroes, Villains and Victims and the Challenges of History'.


RE-WATCH Julia Lovell's stand-out Cundill Lecture on 'Writing Maoism as Global History', in partnership with History Extra.

LISTEN to Camilla Townsend on the podcast of our prize partner History Extra, and watch out for an interview on winning the prize and global history -- still to come.

READ about our virtual winner ceremony, Camilla Townsend's win, and the 2020 prize programme in this in-depth news piece over on Publishing Perspectives.

LISTEN to Camilla Townsend on BBC Radio 3 Free Thinking in a programme on 'Times of Change' – hosted by twice Cundill History Prize juror Rana Mitter.

Celebrate the 2020 Finalists with us

Vincent Brown
Tacky’s Revolt: The Story of an Atlantic Slave War

Belknap Press at Harvard University Press

William Dalrymple
The Anarchy: the Relentless Rise of the East India Company

Bloomsbury Publishing

Camilla Townsend
Fifth Sun: A New History of the Aztecs

Oxford University Press USA


Brown Vincent Tacky S Revolt
Dalrymple William The Anarchy
Townsend Camilla Fifth Sun
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Brown Vincent Author Photo
Dalrymple William Author Photo C Bikramjit Bose
Townsend Camilla Author Photo

2020 Season Calendar

The Cundill History Prize Festival
with two full days of events including:

The Cundill Lecture in History
delivered by 2019 winner Julia Lovell (Maoism)
in partnership with BBC HistoryExtra
Wednesday, December 2, 2020
1 p.m. ET / 6 p.m. GMT

The Cundill Forum
A special evening with the three finalists
in partnership with CBC Ideas
Wednesday, December 2, 2020
4.30 p.m. ET / 9.30 p.m. GMT

The 2020 Winner Announcement
in partnership with HistoryHit TV & the Timeline YouTube channel
Thursday, December 3, 2020
1 p.m. ET / 6 p.m. GMT

The 2020 Cundill History Prize is being brought to you in partnership with:

Peter Frankopan
Anne Applebaum
Lyse Doucet
Eliga Gould
Sujit Sivasundaram

2020 Jury

The Cundill History Prize is steering through one of the most challenging moments in recent world history with an exceptional international jury of prize-winning historians and journalists.

“This has been an extraordinary year for history writing, with some truly exceptional books that have changed how we look at the past. As we’ve all been learning during lockdown, making sense of the world around us has never been more important. I’m very excited by the outstanding panel that have agreed to judge the Cundill Prize this year – and to working with them to find the voices and ideas that have shown again why the study of history is so important.”

Peter Frankopan

Peter Frankopan
Anne Applebaum
Lyse Doucet
Eliga Gould
Img 7440Smaller1

Julia Lovell
2019 Winner

The prestigious international Cundill History Prize recognizes and rewards the best history writing
in English.

Administered by McGill University in Montreal, the Cundill History Prize generously rewards the leading historians of our time, with US$75,000 going to the winner, and the two runners up each receiving a Recognition of Excellence Award, together with US$10,000. A distinguished jury is seeking the book that embodies historical scholarship, originality, literary quality and broad appeal. Previous winners include Thomas W. Laqueur, Susan Pedersen, Lisa Jardine, Anne Applebaum, and Diarmaid MacCulloch.

2020 Jury

Find out more about the eminent historians judging the 2018 Cundill History Prize here.


Find videos, interviews and media coverage highlights in our new Media section.


Only TWO WEEKS remain until submissions close for the 2021 #CundillHistoryPrize. Don't miss out! For rules & regula… https://t.co/OKSKIWPOyC
December 3rd was quite the day for 2020 #CundillHistoryPrize winner Camilla Townsend. That same evening, fresh off… https://t.co/9lzE9iWCpY
Psst! Publishers: Want to see YOUR author(s) in this year’s Cundill activities? SUBMIT your eligible titles via our… https://t.co/UptvrXegie
Nothing like getting the year’s #CundillHistoryPrize finalists all together! In 2020, Vincent Brown, @DalrympleWillhttps://t.co/2YwmrAaWF1