British Academy-funded researchers shortlisted for Wolfson History Prize

22 Apr 2022

Two British Academy-funded researchers have been shortlisted for the 2022 Wolfson History Prize, which this year celebrates its 50th anniversary.

The Wolfson History Prize, the UK’s most prestigious history writing prize, showcases the best accessible historical non-fiction titles from the previous year.

Professor Francesca Stavrakopoulou, who was awarded a British Academy Small Research Grant in 2007, has been shortlisted for her book God: An Anatomy. An original and in-depth exploration of the concept of God, the book uses an examination of God’s physicality to shed new light on the development of monotheistic religions and Western culture more broadly.

Malcolm Gaskill, also a former British Academy Small Research Grant-holder, is on the shortlist for The Ruin of All Witches: Life and Death in the New World, which follows one family in Springfield, Massachusetts, as the battle between religion and enlightenment breeds paranoia, anger and terror with the onset of a series of witch-hunts.

The full list of books shortlisted for the Wolfson History Prize 2022 are:

  • The Ottomans: Khans, Caesars and Caliphs by Marc David Baer (Basic Books)
  • The Ruin of All Witches: Life and Death in the New World by Malcolm Gaskill (Allen Lane)
  • Devil-Land: England Under Siege, 1588-1688 by Clare Jackson (Allen Lane)
  • Going to Church in Medieval England by Nicholas Orme (Yale University Press)
  • God: An Anatomy by Francesca Stavrakopoulou (Picador)
  • Fallen Idols: Twelve Statues That Made History by Alex von Tunzelmann (Headline).

Professor Rana Mitter FBA OBE, a historian of China and the British Academy’s Vice-President for Public Engagement, said:

"Supporting original and accessible research in the SHAPE disciplines (the Social Sciences, Humanities and the Arts for People and the Economy) has always been a priority for the British Academy, so it is wonderful to see former award-holders go on to receive such high praise and recognition for their work. Being nominated for the Wolfson History Prize – the most prestigious British prize for historians – is a superb achievement. I congratulate Professors Stavrakopoulou and Gaskill and greatly look forward to reading their books.”

Chair of the judges, former President of the British Academy Professor Sir David Cannadine, commented: 

“This year’s Wolfson History Prize shortlist once again showcases the diversity and vigour of history writing in the UK. The judges were impressed by the variety, originality, and quality of research demonstrated by the six shortlisted books. As well as being engaging reads, they are all highly deserving of a place in the eminent roll call of authors celebrated by the prize over the past 50 years.”

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