Wolfson History Prize 2018 shortlist announced

16 April 2018

Six books are in the running for the Wolfson History Prize 2018, each selected for their outstanding historical writing, accessible to a general audience.

The shortlisted books are:

The overall winner will be announced on Monday 4 June at a reception at Claridge’s in London. The winner will receive £40,000 and each of the shortlisted authors will receive £4,000.

The shortlist was selected by a panel of four eminent historians. Professor Carole Hillenbrand, an expert on Islamic history and Professor at the Universities of Edinburgh and St Andrews, joined the judging panel this year alongside Sir David Cannadine (chair), Sir Richard Evans and Revd Professor Diarmaid MacCulloch.

Professor Sir David Cannadine, speaking on behalf of the judges said:
“This year’s shortlist is a testament to the strength of writing on history in the UK today. It brings together established academics with first time writers, spanning a huge variety of times and places. What unites the authors is a commitment to share careful research and a deep love of their subject with as wide an audience as possible. As judges we found ourselves engrossed, challenged, and delighted by our reading. It is with great enthusiasm that we announce the shortlist for 2018.”

Paul Ramsbottom, Chief Executive of the Wolfson Foundation which awards the Prize said:
“The Wolfson History Prize is a public expression of the importance of history to the cultural life of the country. It recognises books that sparkle with brilliance, breaking new ground in our understanding of the past – and which are written in ways that appeal to a wide audience. The Prize is awarded by the Wolfson Foundation as part of a number of wider programmes of support for history and heritage – ranging from museums to historic buildings to university research.”

The Prize was established in 1972 and is now the UK’s foremost history book award, recognising and celebrating books which combine excellence in historical research with readability for a general audience.

The authors will be talking about their shortlisted books on a BBC Radio 3 ‘Free Thinking’ event on 9 May. You can find out more information and book a ticket through The British Academy.

Last year was the first year that a shortlist was announced. Christopher de Hamel was the overall winner for his book Meetings with Remarkable Manuscripts (published by Allen Lane) which presented twelve medieval manuscripts in the form of a ‘conversation’ with the reader.