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Shortlist announced for $75,000 Cundill Prize in Historical Literature

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Cundill Prize 2016

Though it has flown somewhat under the radar, the nine-year-old Cundill Prize in Historical Literature has quietly been establishing itself as one of the leading literary prizes in the country. It's the most lucrative international award for a non-fiction book in the world, with a staggering $75,000 (US) grand prize, in addition to two Recognition of Excellence prizes of $10,000 (US) each. The prize was established by McGill alumnus F. Peter Cundill, who passed away in January 2011, and is awarded annually to an individual who has published a book that has made a profound literary, social, and academic impact in the area of history.

The announcement of this year's longlist came from Antonia Maioni, Dean of McGill University’s Faculty of Arts, who administers the prize with assistance from the McGill Institute for the Study of Canada.

Maioni praised the books, which "combine scholarship and wide appeal". The longlist will be whittled down to a three-book shortlist the week of October 3, with the final grand prize winner announced at a gala event in Toronto on November 17.

This year's jury is an impressive one, made up of Timothy Brook from the University of British Columbia; John Darwin from the University of Oxford; David Frum, Senior Editor at The Atlantic; and Anna Porter, award-winning author and Co-founder of Key Porter Books.

2016 Cundill Prize in Historical Literature:

  • Mary Beard for SPQR: A History of Ancient Rome (Liveright Publishing Corporation)
  • Robert J. Gordon for The Rise and Fall of American Growth: The U.S. Standard of Living Since the Civil War (Princeton University Press)
  • Thomas W. Laqueur for The Work of the Dead: A Cultural History of Mortal Remains (Princeton University Press)
  • Philippe Sands for East West Street: On the Origins of Genocide and Crimes Against Humanity (Weidenfeld & Nicolson)
  • David Wootton for The Invention of Science: A New History of the Scientific Revolution (Allen Lane)
  • Andrea Wulf for The Invention of Nature: Alexander Von Humboldt’s New World (Alfred A. Knopf, John Murray Publishers)
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