Cricket Country shortlisted for prestigious non-fiction prize

A book by a Leicester academic exploring the untold history of the first All India cricket team has been shortlisted as one of six entries for the Wolfson History Prize 2020.

Regarded as the most prestigious non-fiction writing prize in the UK, the award recognises the best factual history writing from the past year.

Dr Prashant Kidambi, Associate Professor of Colonial Urban History at the University of Leicester, wrote Cricket Country: An Indian Odyssey in the Age of Empire, which explores colonial relations, the last days of the British Empire, and the beginning of Indian nationhood through the prism of the All India cricket tour of Great Britain and Ireland during the coronation summer of 1911.

Speaking today, Dr Prashant Kidambi, Associate Professor of Colonial Urban History at the University of Leicester, said:

“It is an honour to be short-listed for the Wolfson History Prize, which recognises and promotes scholarly history that reaches out to a general audience.

“Cricket Country explores the tangled histories of empire and nation through the prism of sport. As the great CLR James famously wrote, ‘What do they know of cricket, who only cricket know?’”

The six books shortlisted for the Wolfson History Prize 2020 are:

  • The Boundless Sea: A Human History of the Oceans (Allen Lane) by David Abulafia
  • A History of the Bible: The Book and Its Faiths (Allen Lane) by John Barton
  • A Fistful of Shells: West Africa from the Rise of the Slave Trade to the Age of Revolution (Allen Lane) by Toby Green
  • Cricket Country: An Indian Odyssey in the Age of Empire (Oxford University Press) by Prashant Kidambi
  • The Five: The Untold Lives of the Women Killed by Jack the Ripper (Doubleday) by Hallie Rubenhold
  • Chaucer: A European Life (Princeton University Press) by Marion Turner

The winner of the Wolfson History Prize 2020 will be announced in a virtual ceremony on Monday 15 June 2020. The winner of the Wolfson History Prize, the most valuable non-fiction writing prize in the UK, will be awarded £40,000, with each of the shortlisted authors receiving £4,000.

The Wolfson History Prize 2020 shortlisted authors will discuss their books and historical writing in a special edition of BBC Radio 3’s Free Thinking on a date to be announced.

Paul Ramsbottom, chief executive of the Wolfson Foundation, which awards the Prize, commented:

“The Wolfson History Prize is awarded by the Wolfson Foundation as an expression of the importance of history to the life of the country. The Prize recognises books that brim with brilliance and that break new ground in our understanding of past societies across the globe. These are books which are compellingly written to appeal to all.

“We are living in a strange and unsettling moment, but the value of books and reading is perhaps emphasised as never before during lockdown - when many of us are looking for distraction, entertainment and education.”

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