Eligibility criteria

The criteria for submitting a nomination for our British Academy Book Prize, worth £25,000 and awarded annually for a non-fiction book that promotes global cultural understanding.

Eligibility criteria

The British Academy Book Prize is awarded annually by to the author of the best (in the opinion of the judges) eligible non-fiction book that contributes to global cultural understanding for a wider public audience.

The British Academy is the UK’s national academy for humanities and social sciences, and eligible books might come from the subjects that fall within those disciplines, from history and psychology to philosophy, languages and cultural studies.

a) The Prize rewards books that best contribute to improving cultural understanding among public audiences. The judges are seeking books that are rigorous, accessible, and engaging.

b) Nominated persons can be of any nationality, based anywhere in the world and working in any language provided that the nominated work has been published in the UK and Ireland, in English for the first time between the 1 April 2020 and 31 March 2021.

Books that have previously been published outside the UK and Ireland will only be eligible if the date of original publication outside the UK and Ireland is within the previous one year, i.e. not earlier than 1 April 2019.

c) E-books may be submitted, on the condition that three bound copies are submitted for the jury’s consideration by the submission (31 March 2021), and that if the book is shortlisted it will be made publicly available in print by the time of the shortlist announcement (7 September 2021).

d) Previously winning any other prize does not affect a book’s eligibility.

e) Previously winning the Nayef Al-Rodhan Prize does not affect an author’s eligibility to enter, provided the entry is for a different non-fiction book.

f) Translated books are eligible if the UK publication coincides with the dates outlined in (b) above.

g) Edited volumes are not eligible.

h) Children’s books and picture books/graphic novels are not eligible for this Prize.

i) Authors must be living at the time of submission.


j)  Nominations are invited from publishers, Fellows of the British Academy and by open call. Nominators must complete the online nomination form and submit an electronic version to prizes@thebritishacademy.ac.uk and three copies of the book they wish to nominate to: The British Academy Prizes Team, The British Academy, 10-11 Carlton House Terrace, SW1Y 5AH.

For submissions made by Fellows or open call (via the online form) the British Academy will contact the publisher to request three copies of the nominated book.

k) Publishers may be called upon to submit up to 12 additional copies of a nominated book.

l) By entering the Prize, publishers and authors of the shortlisted titles are agreeing to work co-operatively with the Prize team in promoting the shortlisted book and the Prize, including the production of any digital media around the time of the shortlist and winner announcement.

m) The winning title must display the words ‘Winner of the British Academy Book Prize for Global Cultural Understanding’ on all subsequent printings, according to the Prize’s brand-guidelines, unless otherwise agreed.

n) Shortlisted titles must display the words ‘Shortlisted for the British Academy Book Prize for Global Cultural Understanding’ on all subsequent printings, according to the Prize’s brand-guidelines unless otherwise agreed.

o) There is no entry fee for nominating books. However, in doing so publishers of the shortlisted books agree that they will contribute to costs incurred by the author’s travel and accommodation around the ceremony in October 2021.

p) Judges also have the right to call in books that have not been put forward.

q) Publishers must declare if there are any previous or ongoing cases of libel with a nominated book.

r) It is the discretion of the administration team and the Jury as to whether a book is eligible and fits the subject matter. Their decision is final, and no conversation will be entered into.

s) The Prize is managed by the British Academy, to whom all enquiries about the application of these regulations should be addressed.


General enquiries about the Prize should be sent to prizes@thebritishacademy.ac.uk.

All media enquiries regarding the Prize should be directed to jane@janeactonpr.co.uk.

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