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Eligibility & rules of entry

The Wolfson History Prize is awarded annually to promote and recognise outstanding history written for a general audience. First awarded in 1972, it remains a beacon of the best historical writing being produced in the UK, reflecting qualities of both readability and excellence in writing and research.

Books are judged on the extent to which they are carefully researched, well-written and accessible to the non-specialist reader.

A shortlist of six books is announced in spring, followed by one overall winner in early summer.

The Wolfson History Prize is the most valuable non-fiction writing prize in the UK, with the winner receiving a total prize of £40,000, and the shortlisted authors receiving £4,000 each.

The Prize is awarded by the Wolfson Foundation, an independent charity that awards grants to support and promote excellence in the fields of science, health, education and the arts & humanities.


  1. The subject matter of the book may cover any aspect of history, including historical biography.
  2. Books must be published in English in the UK within the qualifying period (between 1 January and 31 December for the following years Prize).
  3. The author shall be normally resident in the UK during the year of publication, defined as spending the majority of nights in the UK during the relevant year. Awards are not made posthumously.
  4. Provided that they meet the residency qualification, the author may be of any nationality.
  5. The author must not be a previous winner of the Prize. Previously shortlisted authors are eligible.
  6. The following are not eligible:
    1. Multi-authored works
    2. Edited volumes
    3. Re-prints or revised editions
    4. Translations of books originally written in other languages
    5. Self-published works
  7. Where there are any doubts as to eligibility, the prize administrator will seek clarity from the publisher. The chair of the judges’ decision on eligibility will be final.

Selection of books

  1. Publishers will be contacted by the Wolfson Foundation office and invited to send copies of spring and autumn catalogues (all relevant imprints) for consideration by the judges.
  2. Catalogues may be submitted in print or electronic format.
  3. The publisher may submit with the catalogues a covering note highlighting up to six suggested books (per imprint) from the catalogues that the judges may wish to consider.
  4. When sending recommendations, publishers should confirm that the books meet the qualifying criteria (above).
  5. Catalogues should be received no later than 30 September.
  6. Catalogues may only be submitted by the publisher.
  7. On receipt of catalogues, the judges will select books to be considered and the prize administrator will then contact the publisher to request the selected titles.
  8. The publisher will be asked to send copies to each of the judges and to the Wolfson Foundation office, and to complete a submission form for the selected titles.
  9. The judges may request books where the publisher’s catalogues have not been originally requested.
  10. Requests for books will only be made by the Wolfson Foundation office.
  11. Books should not be sent to the judges unless requested by the prize administrator.
  12. Requested books and completed submission forms should be received no later than 30 November.
  13. No books will be returned.

Promotion and publicity

  1. In the event of a book being shortlisted, the publisher agrees to:
    1. Contribute ten print copies and one electronic copy of the book to be used by the Wolfson Foundation for promoting the book and the Prize.
    2. Supply book synopsis, author biography, high-resolution colour photographs of the author and book cover cleared for perpetual, royalty-free use for any media and publicity associated with the Prize.
    3. Supply 200 words from the author on why they wrote the book and what it means to be shortlisted for the Wolfson History Prize.
    4. Issue a press release about the book(s) being shortlisted, in liaison with the Wolfson Foundation’s office. 
    5. Secure the attendance of the author at the event announcing the winner, which will be held in Central London.
    6. Where possible make the author available for activities to promote the Prize e.g. events, interviews and other promotional activities, as and if they are arranged.
    7. Acknowledge the Prize on subsequent reprints, including paperback editions.
  1. The winning title must acknowledge the Wolfson History Prize on the cover, rear or dust jacket on subsequent reprints, including paperback editions.
  2. All press releases, proposed logo usage and name credits should be agreed with the Wolfson Foundation.


Any enquiries regarding eligibility and rules of entry should be directed to us by email (opens an draft email with address populated).