The prize, together with a lecture, was established through a bequest from Mrs Frida Mond in 1924. It was her intention to associate both prize and lecture with Sir Israel Gollancz, the first Secretary of the British Academy, ‘in token of a highly valued old friendship and his effort to further these studies’. During Sir Israel’s lifetime, at his own request, the award was known as the Biennial Prize for English Literature, but after his death in 1930 it became the Sir Israel Gollancz Prize. The Prize was first awarded in 1925.
Eligible nominations can be for any published work of sufficient value on subjects connected with Anglo-Saxon, Early English Language and Literature, English Philology, or the History of English Language; or for original investigations connected with the history of English Literature or the works of English writers, with preference for the earlier period.
How to nominate
Nominations may only be made by Fellows of the British Academy. Nominations for this Prize are currently closed.
Nominating body: Medieval Studies Section
David Wallace for his lifetime contribution into the study of Chaucer and Medieval English literature.
David Wallace has been Judith Rodin Professor of English & Related Literature at the University of Pennsylvania since 1996, with visiting positions at Melbourne, Princeton, and Jerusalem. He served as President of the New Chaucer Society, 2004-6, and as President of the Medieval Academy of America, 2018-19.
His Chaucerian Polity: Associational Lineages and Associational Forms in England and Italy (1997) won the Lowell Prize for best book by a member of the Modern Language Association of America. Strong Women: Life, Text, and Territory, 1347-1645 (2011) was developed from Clarendon lectures given at Oxford in 2007. Edited projects include The Cambridge History of Medieval English Literature (1999) and, supported by a Guggenheim Fellowship, Europe: A Literary History, 1348-1418 (2 vols, 2016). Recipient of three teaching awards, he is offering open Chaucer classes at the Rosenbach Museum, Philadelphia, in autumn 2019. His Chaucer: A Very Short Introduction is published this month.
"I am delighted to be awarded this prize, and amazed to be thus connected with legendary figures such as C.S. Lewis and C.T. Onions, J.M. Manly and Dorothy Whitelock. My deepest thanks for this honour to the British Academy, to its selection committee, and to all those with whom I have studied Chaucer and medieval literatures, English and European." - David Wallace, August 2019
2017 Dr Helmut Gneuss FBA, Ludwig Maximillian University of Munich
2015 Professor Ralph Hanna, University of Oxford
2013 Professor Leslie Lockett, Ohio State University
2011 Professor Jill Mann FBA, Honorary Fellow of St Anne’s College, Oxford
2009 Professor Michael Lapidge FBA, Emeritus Fellow, Clare College, Cambridge
2007 Professor James Simpson
2005 Professor Patrick P O'Neill
2003 Professor Robert Lewis
2001 Professor Malcolm Godden and the late Professor Peter Clemoes