It is important, especially in this day and age of instant misinformation over social media, to have well-written and thoroughly-researched history writing to ensure that future generations have a better understanding of the events that made world history.
As Events Coordinator there is no such thing as regular day. One evening I am hauling books to a coffee shop for a poetry reading, the next day I am on the phone or computer trying to find a venue for a large author event, and all of this in-between my regular duties as a manager at a book store.
History writing has evolved over the years from laborious, bland and distant volumes with limited popular appeal to dynamic, exciting and relatable page-turners. The Cundill History Prize can serve to draw attention to titles that might not get enough promotion or publicity; the books that your average reader, or the public in general, would not ordinarily notice because they feel they are “too academic” or inaccessible.
The jurors' selection is exceptional and reflects a wide variety of subjects, eras, and diverse authors; precisely the way a prestigious history prize should.
I enjoy reading about the events, people and policies that shaped the times we occupy. That is why Against the World: Anti-Globalism and Mass Politics Between the Two World Wars by Tara Zahra catches my attention. So much of the cold-war era I grew up in, and the entire latter half of the 20th century in which Gen-Xers lived, was formed by what happened in the first half of the 20th century during, in between, and as a result of, the First and Second World War.
That question is a real poser. As a huge music fan at first I thought about being on the rooftop of Abbey Road Studios as The Beatles made what was their last public performance. Afterwards I considered, as a World War II buff, being on the deck of the Battleship Missouri as Japan formally surrendered. In the end my Greek heritage won: I would want to be at the Battle of Salamis as the Greek triremes stood victorious over the Persian invasion fleet, just to be able to say I was there.
Andreas Kessaris is Events Coordinator at Paragraphe.