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Fellow of the British Academy named 2019 Holberg Prize Laureate

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Professor Paul Gilroy FBA has been named the 2019 Laureate of The Holberg Prize, one of the largest international prizes awarded annually to an outstanding researcher in the arts and humanities, social sciences, law or theology.

Professor Gilroy is an internationally renowned contemporary British intellectual whose scholarship has had major impact in numerous fields including cultural studies, critical race studies, sociology, history, anthropology and African American studies. 

Elected a Fellow of the British Academy in 2014, and currently Professor of American and English Literature at King’s College London, Professor Gilroy completed his PhD at Birmingham University. He went on to work at universities including Yale, where he rose to become Chair, in 2002, of its new Department of African American Studies. He holds numerous other fellowships and was elected an international honorary member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2018. 

His prolific authorship includes the seminal There Ain’t No Black In The Union Jack (1987), which established him as a major figure in the study of race and racism in Britain, and Darker Than Blue: On The Moral Economies of Black Atlantic (2010). He is also an influential curator, journalist and musician who has collaborated on important film and television projects focussing on black aesthetics, popular music and expressive culture across the Black Atlantic.

In naming Professor Gilroy their 2019 Laureate, the Holberg Committee – which was chaired by Professor Dame Hazel Genn FBA – cited him as “a courageous and inspiring figure, whose work has been transformative, dealing with some of the most pressing issues of our time”.

Professor Gilroy will receive The Holberg Prize during a formal ceremony in Norway on 5 June, at which Sir David Cannadine, President of the British Academy will give the speech to honour him.

Sir David Cannadine said: "The British Academy actively recognises and supports the very best researchers in the UK. So, we are delighted that Professor Gilroy’s work – which is a shining example of interdisciplinarity and the central relevance of the arts, humanities and social sciences to how lives are lived in Britain and the world – has been recognised in this way.”

(Image credit: Vron Ware)