British Academy volume wins American Library Association award for Best Historical Material

30 Mar 2023

A book published by the British Academy has won an American Library Association award for Best Historical Material.

African Voices from the Inquisition, Vol. 1: The Trial of Crispina Peres of Cacheu, Guinea-Bissau (1646-1668), edited by Professor Toby Green, Philip J. Havik and Filipa Ribeiro da Silva, provides the first full English translation of an inquisitorial trial based in West Africa. It was selected by the Reference and User Services Association division of the American Library Association, who highlighted the precision of the translation.

The book was published in 2021 in the Fontes Historiae Africanae (Sources of African History) series, an international editing and publishing project that aims to make African history as widely available as possible. The British Academy established the British committee of Fontes Historiae Africanae, through which this volume is published. The book presents the translated and annotated text of the Inquisition trial of Crispina Peres, an African woman born in the Guinea-Bissau region to a Portuguese father and an African mother. Peres was accused of engaging in African rites and witchcraft, imprisoned, and brought before Inquisitioners in Lisbon.

The Introduction to the volume is available to read for free.

Professor Toby Green is Chair of the British Academy’s Fontes Historiae Africanae committee and a senior lecturer at King’s College London. His 2019 work, A Fistful of Shells: West Africa from the Rise of the Slave Trade to the Age of Revolution, won the British Academy’s Nayef Al-Rodhan Prize for Global Cultural Understanding.

Reflecting on the award, Professor Toby Green said:

“My fellow editors and I are delighted that this volume has been awarded this prize by the American Library Association. We see it as testament to the importance of the publication of scholarly editions of sources of African history. This work would not have been possible without the support of the Academy, through the Fontes Historiae Africanae committee, and we are very grateful for their helping to make this possible.”

Professor Lindsay Farmer, Vice-President of Publishing & Conferences at the British Academy, said:

“We are absolutely delighted that this book has been recognised in this way. It highlights the importance of publishing such historical sources so as to make them available to a wider audience, and the British Academy is proud to be able to support this work.”

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