Skip Content

The British Academy recognises excellence in scholarship worldwide with announcement of prestigious prizes and medals

News •

This year’s winners of prestigious British Academy prizes and medals include linguists, literary critics, archaeologists and charitable pioneers, whose accomplishments have left a lasting impact on the humanities and social sciences.

Prizes to be awarded at presentation ceremonies in September include the Derek Allen Prize, which is awarded posthumously this year to the musicologist and composer Professor Alejandro Enrique Planchart, and the Sir Israel Gollancz Prize, which is awarded to Professor David Wallace for his lifetime contribution into the study of Chaucer and Medieval Europe.

The Burkitt Medal is awarded to Professor John J. Collins, who held the position of Holmes Professor of Old Testament Criticism and Interpretation at Yale Divinity School. The Burkitt Medal Committee voted unanimously to award this year’s prize to Professor Collins for his wide-ranging and distinguished contribution to Old Testament Studies and the study of Second Temple Judaism.

The British Academy awards the Landscape Archaeology Medal to Professor Dominic Powlesland, Founder and Director of the Landscape Research Centre, for pioneering methodologies of large-scale excavation and setting up the Landscape Research Centre as an independent charitable trust. Powlesland, a landscape archaeologist based in North Yorkshire, pioneered the use of handheld digital tools and data management systems in archaeology from the 1980s onwards.

The British Academy recognises distinguished international scholars this year, including Professor Michael Knibb FBA who receives the Edward Ullendorff Medal for his significant contribution to the field of the Ethiopic Bible. The Neil & Saras Smith Medal, awarded to a linguist of any nationalist who achieves the highest standards of scholarship, is awarded to Professor Deirdre Wilson FBA for her significant contribution to the field of pragmatics and the development of Relevance Theory.

The Serena Medal will be presented to Professor John Foot for his wide-ranging contributions to modern Italian history and the Kenyon Medal is awarded to Professor Peter Parsons FBA for a lifetime's contribution to the study of papyrology.

The British Academy also honours three scholars in recognition of their accomplishments in the past year. Dr. Andre Santos Campos of Nova University of Lisbon will receive The Brian Barry Prize in Political Science for his essay, Representing the Future: The Interests of Future Persons, which presents an authoritative case for greater political representation for children.

The Peter Townsend Prize, awarded biennially in partnership with Bristol University Press, will be awarded in 2019 to Professor Steven King for Writing the Lives of the English Poor 1750s-1830s and Dr Marina MacKay receives the Rose Mary Crawshay Prize for her study of modernist literary criticism, Ian Watt: The Novel and Wartime Critic. Established in 1888 and awarded by the British Academy since 1916, the Rose Mary Crawshay Prize recognises historical or critical works relating to English literature by a woman.

Professor Sir David Cannadine, historian and President of the British Academy, said:

“The British Academy exists to champion excellence in the humanities and social sciences and to recognise scholars’ contributions to all areas of research and society. Whether through individual accomplishments or lifelong service, these medals and prizes are testament to these academics’ excellence in their respective academic fields and commitment to advancing public understanding of the humanities and social sciences.

“I extend my most heartfelt congratulations and warmest wishes to each of the winners.”

On receiving the Neil and Saras Smith Medal, Professor Deirdre Wilson FBA said:

“I am honoured to receive this medal established by Neil Smith, who has done so much for the development of pragmatics in this country, both through his own work and through the intellectually adventurous climate he fostered at UCL.”

On receiving the Edward Ullendorff Medal, Professor Michael Knibb FBA said:

“I knew Edward Ullendorff for over 40 years as a teacher, mentor and friend, and I never ceased to learn from him. I feel extremely honoured to be awarded by the Academy this medal, which bears his name.”