British Academy Book Prize for Global Cultural Understanding: past winners

History of the prize

The British Academy Book Prize, formerly known as the Nayef Al Rodhan Prize for Global Cultural Understanding, was launched in 2013 in partnership with Professor Nayef Al-Rodhan with the aim of establishing a significant force in global publishing and prizegiving.

Since then, the prize has recognised a distinguished array of shortlisted authors and eventual winners. Their work explores many different aspects of global cultural understanding and combines original academic enquiry with engaging story-telling to reach the broadest possible public audience.

I decided to initiate this prize for global cultural understanding because of the need to address certain perennial problems regarding the relations between different cultures, and to highlight the many ways in which apparently distinct cultures in fact overlap at numerous points. 

Misunderstanding between cultures can take many forms and has the capacity to result in widespread mistrust and insecurity. There is all too often ignorance about the values, culture, achievements, and history of different cultures, leading to misperceptions that produce reflexive and antagonistic stereotypes.

The ideas of inter-connectedness and mutual borrowing applies to all cultures of the world. We must remember that culture is a shared enterprise. Some of the greatest achievements of human history have resulted from collective efforts, built on the prior achievements of cultures whose golden age may have passed. It is important therefore for all of us to understand our shared history and the debt we owe to others, and to nurture a more positive and respectful global cultural relations.

It is my hope that this prize will contribute in a modest way to such positive global cultural understanding by highlighting and encouraging eminent work in this field.

Professor Nayef Al-Rodhan
Prize founder

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