Three US historians are in the running for the $75,000 Cundill History Prize, the largest prize for a work of non-fiction in English, run by Canada's McGill University.
Shortlisted this year are Caroline Fraser for Prairie Fires: The American Dreams of Laura Ingalls Wilder (published by Little, Brown in the UK); Maya Jasanoff for The Dawn Watch: Joseph Conrad in a Global World (HarperCollins in the UK); and Sam White's A Cold Welcome:The Little Ice Age and Europe’s Encounter with North America (Harvard University Press). Each win $10,000 at shortlisting stage.
Mark Gilbert, chair of the jury, said: “Having invested thousands of hours into the research of their books, these outstanding historians have managed to turn their material into works of history that are also irresistible reads. Going beyond traditional, straight-forward history, the finalists for the 2018 Cundill History Prize are works that move the genre of history writing forward.”
Fellow judge Peter Frankopan added: “When you are writing history, you need a sprinkling of fairy dust, something that allows your prose to spring from the page, and to bring the reader with you. Our finalists are a masterclass in how this is done. These books are not just exceptional works of historical scholarship; they are also great literature.”
The winner will be announced in Montreal on 15th November.