Books

British author Julia Lovell's book about Maoism wins $98K historical nonfiction prize

Maoism by British author Julia Lovell won the 2019 Cundill History Prize, an award that recognizes the year's most accomplished work of historical nonfiction.
Maoism: A Global History is a nonfiction book by Julia Lovell. (Bodley Head, Cundill History Prize)

Maoism by British author Julia Lovell won the 2019 Cundill History Prize, a $75,000 U.S. ($98,842.50 Cdn) that recognizes the year's most accomplished work of historical nonfiction.

Lovell's Maoism explores the global legacy of Maoism and uncovers its impact in countries like India, France, Tanzania and modern-day China.

"Maoism is a history of ideas, deeply grounded in research, with well-developed characters — and a major contribution to various different literatures: the historiography of the Cold War, the literature that exists on decolonization and the history of Marxism in its various formations," said jury member Robert Gerwarth in a press release.

Lovell is a professor of modern China at the University of London. She is also a translator of Chinese literature into English.

Lovell's previous books include The Opium War and The Great Wall. She also translated Lu Xun's The Real Story of Ah-Q, and Other Tales of China.

The other finalists were American writer Jill Lepore's These Truths and British writer Mary Fulbrook's Reckonings. They will each receive $10,000 U.S. ($13,179 Cdn).

The full jury panel included Alan Taylor, Charlotte Gray, Rana Mitter, Jane Kamensky and Robert Gerwarth.

The 2018 winner was Maya Jasanoff for The Dawn Watch: Joseph Conrad in a Global World.

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