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OUP titles win the Samuel Pepys and Cundill Prizes

OUP titles win the Samuel Pepys and Cundill Prizes

18 November 2015

Two OUP titles have won significant academic prizes in history this month.

OUP author—and recently retired Delegate for History—Professor Paul Slack, won the widely respected Samuel Pepys Award for The Invention of Improvement: Information and Material Progress in Seventeenth-Century England in early November.

The Samuel Pepys Award is a biennial prize awarded to the book that makes the greatest contribution to our understanding of Samuel Pepys, his time, or his contemporaries. Professor Slack’s text examines how the seventeenth century saw the culture of improvement develop as the English began to apply themselves, for the first time, to developing the most effective way of changing things for the better. Julian Amey, chair of the 2015 judges, described the text as a ‘mature work of scholarship’ which ‘raises fundamental issues of economic policy which are still relevant today’.

In the same week, Canadian historian Susan Pedersen was named winner of the Cundill Prize for The Guardians: The League of Nations and the Crisis of Empire.

The Cundill Prize in Historical Literature is the most lucrative international award for a non-fiction book and is awarded annually to an individual who has published a book which leaves a profound literary, social, and academic impact in the field of history.

Pedersen’s book gives the first comprehensive study for more than 50 years of how the political conflicts between the imperial powers that made up the League of Nations ultimately contributed to undermining the empires they aimed to preserve. The judges described the text as ‘a riveting work of global history’ which ‘enables readers to see the League with new eyes’.

These prizes are testament to the depth and quality of OUP’s academic publishing in history.