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Nayef Al-Rodhan Prize for Global Cultural Understanding
Nominations now open

Nayef Al-Rodhan Prize for Global Cultural Understanding

The Nayef Al-Rodhan Prize, worth £25,000, is awarded annually for a non-fiction book that promotes global cultural understanding.

The British Academy’s £25,000 non-fiction book prize is awarded annually for a book that contributes to public understanding of world cultures. It is designed to illuminate the interconnections and divisions that shape cultural identity worldwide.

How to nominate

Nominations for the Nayef Al-Rodhan Prize are now open and the deadline for initial submissions is 1 April 2020. Interested publishers need to complete the online nomination form and submit three copies of the book they wish to put forward to: The Nayef Al-Rodhan Prize, The British Academy, 10-11 Carlton House Terrace, SW1Y 5AH

Please view the Eligibility criteria for further details.

The 2019 winner

A Fistful of Shells: West Africa from the Rise of the Slave Trade to the Age of Revolution by Toby Green (UK, Allen Lane)

Book jacketToby Green has worked widely with academics, musicians and writers across Africa, organising events in collaboration with institutions in Angola, Ghana, Guinea-Bissau, Sierra Leone and the Gambia. He has written a number of previous books, and his work has been translated into twelve languages. Awarded a 2017 Philip Leverhulme Prize in History, he is Senior Lecturer in Lusophone African History and Culture at King's College London.


The shortlist

The Lies That Bind: Rethinking Identity by Kwame Anthony Appiah (UK, Profile Books)

Book jacketKwame Anthony Appiah is Professor of Philosophy and Law at New York University and has been President of the PEN American Center. Grandson of a British Chancellor of the Exchequer and nephew of a Ghanaian king, he spent his childhood in both countries, before studying Philosophy at Cambridge University. He is the author of seminal works on philosophy and culture, including In My Father's House, The Honor Code and the prize-winning Cosmopolitanism. He lives with his husband in New York and New Jersey.

How the World Thinks: A Global History of Philosophy by Julian Baggini (UK, Granta Publications)

Book jacketJulian Baggini is a popular philosopher and author of over ten books, including the bestselling The Pig that Wants to be Eaten, Do They Think You're Stupid?, The Ego Trick, The Virtues of the Table, and Freedom Regained. He has written for newspapers, magazines, and think tanks, as well as appearing on Newsnight, BBC One’s The Big Questions, many Radio 4 programmes including Today and Start the Week, and on Celebrity University Challenge (his team were pipped to the post in the final seconds).

Maoism: A Global History by Julia Lovell (UK, The Bodley Head)

Book jacketJulia Lovell is Professor of Modern China at Birkbeck College, University of London. She was elected a Fellow of the British Academy in 2019. Her two most recent books are The Great Wall and The Opium War (which won the 2012 Jan Michalski Prize). She is currently completing a new translation of Journey to the West by Wu Cheng'en. She writes about China for several newspapers, including the Guardian, Financial Times, New York Times and Wall Street Journal.

Latinx: The New Force in American Politics and Culture by Ed Morales (UK, Verso)

Book jacketEd Morales is an author, journalist, filmmaker, and poet who teaches at Columbia University. He is the author of The Latin Beat and Living in Spanglish. He has written for the Village Voice, Nation, New York Times, Rolling Stone, and other publications and is a regular commentator on NPR.

His film Whose Barrio? premiered at the New York Latino International Film Festival. He lives in New York City.

Remnants of Partition: 21 Objects from a Continent Divided by Aanchal Malhotra (UK, Hurst & Company)

Book jacketAanchal Malhotra is a New Delhi-based artist and oral historian.

She is the cofounder of the Museum of Material Memory, a digital repository tracing family histories and social ethnography through heirlooms, collectibles and antiques from the Indian subcontinent.

This is her first book.



The jury

Patrick Wright FBAPatrick Wright FBA
Writer, broadcaster and professor of literature and visual and material culture at King’s College London.

Madeleine BuntingMadeleine Bunting
Author, formerly associate editor and columnist at The Guardian. She has won several prizes for her books and journalism. Her first novel, Island Song, will be published by Granta in April 2019.

Fatima ManjiFatima Manji
Correspondent at Channel 4 News.

Rana Mitter FBARana Mitter FBA
Historian, broadcaster and professor of the history and politics of modern China at Oxford.

Henrietta Moore FBAHenrietta Moore FBA
Social anthropologist and Founder and Director of the Institute for Global Prosperity at University College London.




The prize founder

I decided to initiate this prize for global cultural understanding because of the need to address certain perennial problems regarding the relations between different cultures, and to highlight the many ways in which apparently distinct cultures in fact overlap at numerous points. 

Misunderstanding between cultures can take many forms and has the capacity to result in widespread mistrust and insecurity. There is all too often ignorance about the values, culture, achievements, and history of different cultures, leading to misperceptions that produce reflexive and antagonistic stereotypes.

The ideas of inter-connectedness and mutual borrowing applies to all cultures of the world. We must remember that culture is a shared enterprise. Some of the greatest achievements of human history have resulted from collective efforts, built on the prior achievements of cultures whose golden age may have passed. It is important therefore for all of us to understand our shared history and the debt we owe to others, and to nurture a more positive and respectful global cultural relations.

It is my hope that this prize will contribute in a modest way to such positive global cultural understanding by highlighting and encouraging eminent work in this field.

Professor Nayef Al-Rodhan
Prize founder