The British Academy’s £25,000 non-fiction book prize is awarded 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.
Ash Amin FBA (Chair)
Head of Geography at the University of Cambridge and Foreign Secretary of the British Academy.
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.
Rana Mitter FBA
Historian, broadcaster and professor of the history and politics of modern China at Oxford.
Henrietta Moore FBA
Social anthropologist and Founder and Director of the Institute for Global Prosperity at University College London.
Patrick Wright FBA
Writer, broadcaster and professor of literature and visual and material culture at King’s 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