October 16th 2023 in News

Clean energy, confessions and the cultural revolution — Finalists for the 2023 Cundill History Prize announced

2023 Cundill Finalists

The leading international prize for history writing has named its 2023 finalists. Tania Branigan, foreign leader writer for the Guardian; Kate Cooper, Professor of History at Royal Holloway, University of London; and James Morton Turner, Professor of Environmental Studies at Wellesley College, Massachusetts will each receive US$10,000 and are now in the running for the US$75,000 prize, the richest for a work of non-fiction in English.

Philippa Levine, 2023 Chair of the Jury, made the announcement to an international audience via the social media channels of the prize, which is administered by McGill University.

The announcement and juror videos on the three titles are available here.

Tania Branigan’s compelling and chilling dive into the effects – past and present – of living through China’s Cultural Revolution reveals how the scars of that tempestuous history continue to resonate even now. Kate Cooper helps us think about the ancient world in new and unexpected ways, tracing the lives of the women who influenced St. Augustine. And in Charged, James Morton Turner brings a lightness of touch to an often technical history, and shows us why we urgently need to understand technology’s past if we aim to harness its future.

Philippa Levine, Chair of the Jury

After a summer of intense reading and re-reading, Levine was joined by her 2023 jurors — Marie Favereau, Eve M. Troutt Powell, Sol Serrano, Coll Thrush, and Adam Gopnik — to deliberate and decide which three books on their shortlist of 8, announced in New York last month, best met the key Cundill criteria: craft, communication, consequence.

All three finalists will travel to Montreal for the Cundill History Prize Festival, taking place on the McGill campus, in Montreal, November 7-8, where they will appear on a panel together for the Cundill Forum.

The winner, who will see their prize money topped up to become US75,000, will be announced at a ceremony in Montreal on November 8.

The Cundill History Prize is open to books from anywhere in the world, regardless of the author’s nationality, as well as works translated into English. Each year, more than 300 title are submitted by trade and academic publishers from around the world.

The 2023 winner will join an exceptional alumni list of world-class historians: Tiya Miles (2022), 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).