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The Dawn Watch: Joseph Conrad in a Global World

Maya Jasanoff

William Collins (UK) 
Penguin Random House (CAN, US)

The Dawn Watch is a striking portrait of an exceptional man and his times. Maya Jasanoff is a visitor in Conrad’s world, a recreator of it and in some ways its judge. Capturing this world required remarkable research, an eye for telling detail, a roving spirit similar to Conrad’s own, and a gift for historical narrative. Fortunately, Jasanoff’s pen, like Conrad’s, is a magic wand.” Mark Gilbert, Chair of the Jury

The Dawn Watch is immaculately researched. And it is innovative too: part history, part travelogue, part literary criticism. I think that is one reason why it succeeds so well – because it is constantly challenging us to think about the period, the writer, the works and the places. It is like technicolour, bursting with life on each page.” Juror Peter Frankopan

“Maya Jasanoff shows Joseph Conrad as a guide through issues bigger than him. And, in so many ways, these are the same issues we are grappling with, in different ways, today. Extremely well plotted, technically brilliant and beautifully written, this is a work of history that presents us with new ways of reading about authors, and their times.” Juror Jeffrey Simpson

Read more here

Maya Jasanoff

2018 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. 

2018 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.


In the new @LRB, Wolfgang Streeck writes brilliantly about factories and Joshua Freeman's 'Behemoth', longlisted fo… https://t.co/Ht5YaQCKN2
WATCH British historian Daniel Beer (@Beerdaniel), winner of the 2017 #CundillHistoryPrize, deliver the 2018 Cundil… https://t.co/MuQeIdlwbs
RT @richardking18: @cbcHomerun we raved about Cundill Prize winning book The Dawn Watch by Maya Jasonoff. Book is an excellent bio of Jose…
RT @danielkramb: Working on @mcgillu's @CundillPrize has been such a pleasure, once again. Here's my media highlight of the year: the 2018…