Veteran Canadian reporter Lyse Doucet among jurors for the 2020 Cundill History Prize

The $75,000 US prize, managed by McGill University, recognizes the best history writing in English.
Bathurst native Lyse Doucet is the BBC’s chief international correspondent. (Redmond Shannon/CBC)

Canadian journalist Lyse Doucet is among the five jurors for this year's Cundill History Prize, the richest award for nonfiction in English.

The Cundill History Prize, managed by McGill University, recognizes the best history writing in English. The winner receives $75,000 US ($103,664 Cdn) and the two runners up are each awarded US$10,000 ($13,820 Cdn).

"The function of the Cundill History Prize to champion the world's best history writing as a way to better understand the present and to start mapping a future is perhaps more important than ever right now," said Antonia Maioni, dean of the Faculty of Arts at McGill University, who announced the 2020 panel.

Doucet is BBC's chief international correspondent and senior presenter. She played a key role in the channel's coverage of the Arab Spring.

Over the course of her career, she has been posted in Jerusalem, Amman, Tehran, Islamabad, Kabul and Abidjan.

"Now, more than ever, as we ponder an uncertain future, we need to delve into what's gone before, been thought and done before. To be a juror for the 2020 Cundill History Prize is to be given a key which unlocks other worlds — the landscapes inhabited by the best scholars and students of history alike," said Doucet.

Lyse Doucet, the BBC's Chief International Correspondent, takes stock of the past five years of reporting extensively from Syria, covering the humanitarian costs of the conflict and the world's response to it. 18:40

Peter Frankopan, Oxford Professor of Global History and author of The Silk Roads, is the 2020 chair of the Jury.

Also among this year's jury of historians and journalists are Anne Applebaum, Eliga Gould and Sujit Sivasundaram.

Applebaum is a Pulitzer Prize-winning American-Polish historian. She is currently a senior fellow at John Hopkins University, staff writer at The Atlantic and author of Red Famine and Gulag. 

She won the Cundill History Prize for her 2012 book Iron Curtain.

Gould is a professor of history at the University of New Hampshire. He is a Jamestown Prize winner and George Washington Book Prize finalist for his work on the American Revolution.

Sivasundaram is a British-Sri Lankan historian, professor of world history at Cambridge University and director of the university's Centre of South Asian Studies. He is the recipient of a Philip Leverhulme Prize for History and author of numerous books, including the forthcoming Waves Across the South.

The prize received over 300 submissions.

The shortlist will be announced virtually in mid-September. 

The Cundill History Prize Gala and winner announcement is scheduled for Nov. 19 in Montreal. 2019 winner Julia Lovell will give the Cundill History Prize Lecture at McGill. 

Lovell won for the book Maoism: A Global History.

Previous winners also include Maya Jasanoff, Daniel Beer and Susan Pedersen.

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