British Academy Book Prize judges

This year's panel of judges for the British Academy Book Prize boasts a range of academics and experts in disciplines across the humanities and social sciences.

Chair of judges

Charles Tripp FBA

Professor Charles Tripp FBA

Professor Emeritus of Politics, School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London

Charles Tripp was Professor of Politics with reference to the Middle East at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London (SOAS) from 2007 to 2018 and is a Fellow of the British Academy.

His PhD was from SOAS and examined Egyptian politics in the latter years of the monarchy. He has worked at the IISS in London and at the Graduate Institute for International and Development Studies in Geneva. At SOAS, he has been head of the Centre for Middle Eastern Studies and is one of the co-founders of the Centre for Comparative Political Thought. His research has mainly focused on political developments in the Middle East and includes the nature of autocracy, war and the state, as well as Islamic political thought, the politics of resistance and the relationship between art and power. He is currently working on a study of the emergence of the public and the rethinking of republican ideals in Tunisia.

His publications include Islam and the Moral Economy: The Challenge of Capitalism (Cambridge University Press, 2006); A History of Iraq (Cambridge University Press, 2007) His most recent book is The Power and the People: Paths of Resistance in the Middle East (Cambridge University Press, 2013).


Rebecca Earle FBA

Professor Rebecca Earle FBA

Food historian, Professor of History, University of Warwick

Rebecca Earle is a writer and Professor of History at the University of Warwick.

Mostly she writes about the cultural significance of food and eating in the early-modern and modern world. She’s also written about Spanish American history.

She is interested in how everyday activities like eating or dressing can shed light on big historical processes such as colonialism or the emergence of racial categories.

She has authored five books and over forty articles and book chapters. Her most recent book, Feeding the People: The Politics of the Potato (Cambridge University Press, 2020), uses the history of the potato to trace out some of the key features of modernity.

She is currently researching the history of cookery books.

Bridget Kendall Hon FBA Headshot

Ms Bridget Kendall Hon FBA

After a long career as a BBC foreign correspondent, Bridget Kendall was appointed the first female Master of Peterhouse, the University of Cambridge’s oldest College, in 2016, serving until 2023. She also served as a Deputy Vice-Chancellor of the University of Cambridge 2020-2023.

From 2008-2023, she hosted the weekly discussion programme on new ideas and research for the BBC, The Forum, presenting the programme from all over the world, from Beijing to South Africa, from New York to New Zealand, with venues including the British Museum, the Sydney Opera House and CERN, home of the Large Hadron Collider in Switzerland.

Educated at Oxford and Harvard as well as two Russian Universities, she joined the BBC in 1983 and became BBC Moscow's correspondent in 1989, covering the collapse of the Soviet Union. She served five years as BBC Washington's correspondent and 17 years in the senior role of BBC Diplomatic Correspondent. Her book The Cold War; a New Oral History explores the decades long conflict through eye witness accounts.

Her awards and honours include the James Cameron Award for distinguished journalism and an MBE for services to journalism. She holds Honorary Doctorates from St Andrew’s, Exeter, York, and the Central University of Birmingham. She is an Honorary Fellow of Peterhouse as well as two Oxford Colleges - Lady Margaret Hall and St Antony’s. She is an Honorary Fellow of the British Academy.

Professor Chakravarthi Ram-Prasad FBA

Professor Chakravarthi Ram-Prasad FBA

Professor of Comparative Religion and Philosophy, Lancaster University

Chakravarthi Ram-Prasad is Distinguished Professor of Comparative Religion and Philosophy at Lancaster University.

He has published seven books and around sixty papers, primarily on Indian and comparative philosophy and religion. His work has covered metaphysics and epistemology, theories of consciousness, classical Indian approaches to liberation, the nature of the self, conceptions off the divine, and bodily phenomenology. He has also written on political theory, international relations, premodern and contemporary Hindu life, and gender in Hindu devotional thought.

His 2014 Divine Self, Human Self: The Philosophy of Being in two Gita Commentaries won the Best Book Prize 2011-15 of the Society for Hindu-Christian Studies. His most recent book is the 2018 Human Being, Bodily Being: Phenomenology from Classical India. He is currently working on a philosophical anthropology of emotions. He is a Fellow of the Dalai Lama’s Mind & Life Institute, and worked on Hindu-Christian relations in 2010-12 with the then Archbishop of Canterbury.

Ritula Shah

Ritula Shah

Journalist and broadcaster

Ritula Shah is a journalist and broadcaster with one of the most recognisable voices on speech radio.

Ritula was the lead presenter of the news and current affairs programme The World Tonight, on BBC Radio 4 for 15 years. She is also an experienced panel chair, including on the BBC’s weekly panel discussion show, Any Questions? and The Real Story on BBC World Service. She regularly leads major public debates for universities and think tanks.

Ritula has covered the biggest stories of the last three decades, from the break-up of the Soviet Union to Brexit. She reported from New York after the 9/11 attacks, and has discussed everything from the rise of populism to the flaws of cryptocurrencies with senior politicians and policy makers. She has covered numerous elections world-wide.

Indulging her lifelong passion for the arts, Ritula currently presents a daily show on Classic FM.

Outside broadcasting, Ritula sits on the advisory board of the Royal United Services Institute, the world’s oldest and the UK’s leading defence and security think tank. She is also a trustee of the Institute of International Visual Arts known as iniva, and an ambassador for the British Asian Trust.

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