Spanning three continents and a breadth of historical fields from the modern Middle East, 19th Century Chile, North-American Indigenous studies, and the Mongol Empire, historians Marie Favereau, Eve M. Trout Powell, Sol Serrano, Coll Thrush, and author and The New Yorker journalist Adam Gopnik, join chair Philippa Levine, to complete the 2023 Cundill History Prize jury, deliberating over another record year for submissions.
Philippa Levine said regarding the selection of her fellow jurors: “I’m honoured as well as thrilled to be working with colleagues as talented and brilliant as my fellow jurors. The depth and the range of their knowledge and expertise is humbling, and their enthusiasm for the job ahead of us is infectious.”
Former Cundill History Prize finalist, and Associate Professor of History at Paris Nanterre University, Marie Favereau, said: “Writing is a deep and hard commitment. When I feel overwhelmed by the task, I turn to history books which nourish and uplift me, and give me the strength to go on. I’m thrilled to be part of the Cundill History Prize Jury as it offers me the chance to explore and discuss with fellow jurors the best non-fiction prose but also the most ethical and rigorous ways of producing new scholarship. I know it will help me to face the fundamental act of writing other people’s lives.”
Joining The New Yorker in 1986, Adam Gopnik has written over a million words for the magazine, as well as eleven books. On his second appointment to the Cundill History Prize jury, he said: “Nothing matters more to me than the health of popular history—not history written casually, but genuinely popular history that corresponds to the highest standards of scholarship and analysis but is still accessible to any amateur reader with a passion for the past rooted in a concern for the present. I hope we can find and celebrate such books for the Cundill History Prize in 2023.”
The Christopher H. Browne Distinguished Professor of History and Africana Studies, Eve M. Trout Powell, who was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2020, said: “I am deeply excited to be a member of the Cundill History Prize Jury for 2023 and to have the opportunity to read the newest and best historical writing in English from all over the world, about the entire world. As I continue to teach graduate history methods classes, this kind of deep reading helps me better understand the craft and the art (and the magic) of historical writing at its best. History writing at this moment in North America and in many parts of the world has become a choice of speaking truth to power, of ascertaining where that power is and how to reveal it.” The first woman to obtain the National History Award (Chile) in 2018, Vice Chancellor for Research at the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, Sol Serrano, said: “Being a member of this jury means I have a window through which I can contemplate a magnificent landscape of historiography at this moment in time. Especially because this window is framed by great excellence around the ways to think about and write about history. In other words, a completely unique experience.”
The first woman to obtain the National History Award (Chile) in 2018, Vice Chancellor for Research at the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, Sol Serrano, said: “Being a member of this jury means I have a window through which I can contemplate a magnificent landscape of historiography at this moment in time. Especially because this window is framed by great excellence around the ways to think about and write about history. In other words, a completely unique experience.”
Coll Thrush, a professor of history and Killam teaching laureate at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver and faculty associate with UBC’s Institute for Critical Indigenous Studies, said: “With all the various pressures of the academic life—teaching, administration, and service—it can sometimes be difficult to find time to just read. Being a member of the Cundill Prize jury is thus a gift: a chance to dive into the very best historical scholarship of the past year. I look forward to experiencing the best our discipline has to offer. History is all about offering a story of how we got where we are today. Particularly as the humanities face challenges on many fronts, the Cundill Prize is an opportunity to remind the general public—and ourselves—of the vital importance of historical thinking and deep context.”
Last year, Tiya Miles, Radcliffe Alumnae Professor at the Harvard-Radcliffe Institute, and director of the Charles Warren Center for Studies in American History at Harvard University, was named the winner for All That She Carried: The Journey of Ashley’s Sack, a Black Family Keepsake (Random House), for her story of an enslaved mother and her daughter, which traces the lives of three generations of Black women through one object: a cotton sack. All That She Carried has been acquired by Profile Books in the UK, and will be published in July.
Along with Tiya Miles (2022), this year’s winner will join the prize’s alumni of world-class historians, including Marjoleine Kars (2021), Camilla Townsend (2020), Julia Lovell (2019), Maya Jasanoff (2018), Daniel Beer (2017), Thomas W. Laqueur (2016), Susan Pedersen (2015), Gary Bass (2014), Anne Applebaum (2013), Stephen Platt (2012), Sergio Luzzatto (2011), Diarmaid MacCulloch (2010), Lisa Jardine (2009), Stuart B. Schwartz (2008).
Delivered to an ever-growing audience through a network of partners, which last year included CBC Ideas, Literary Hub, History Hit, BBC History Extra and Literary Review of Canada, the Cundill History Prize 2023 gala will be held in Montreal on Wednesday 8th November, when this year’s winner will be announced.