The winner of the Anglo-Hellenic League Runciman Award 2021 is Roderick Beaton for Greece: Biography of a Modern Nation (London: Allen Lane 2019). In winning the Runciman Award for a fourth time, Prof. Beaton has set a new record of achievement.

Announcing the result of this year’s competition, Prof. Peter Frankopan, the chair of judges, said:

We were lucky enough to read some breath-takingly good books this year – including many that are both brave and ambitious, including re-tellings of stories that are well-known and investigations of real originality about topics rarely, if ever, looked at. Roddy Beaton’s book is a combination of all these qualities. It is not easy to write broad history for wide readership, and to do so well takes real skill. Covering recent centuries of Greece’s history requires courage too, as many have strong opinions about what should be written about – and how. What makes Beaton’s book stand out above all, however, is that just as Sir Steven Runciman’s books opened doors through which new generations of readers and scholars have since walked, so too will Greece: Biography of a Modern Nation. As a jury, we felt that this wonderful book captured the spirit of the Runciman Award perfectly.

John Kittmer, chair of the Council of The Anglo-Hellenic League, said:

 ‘On behalf of the League I warmly congratulate Roddy Beaton for winning this year’s Runciman Award. In its 35-year history Roddy is the only person to have won the award four times: a tremendous achievement. In relaunching the award under new sponsors in this year of the bicentenary of the Greek revolution, we are delighted that the judges have chosen to acknowledge the timely relevance of this great book.

The announcement of the winner of the Anglo-Hellenic League Runciman Award 2021 was made on Thursday 17 June, 7pm at an event held (because of Covid-19 restrictions) by Zoom webinar. Prof. Stathis Kalyvas (University of Oxford) gave the keynote address on ‘Why the Greek Revolution still matters today’. Peter Frankopan surveyed the field of longlisted and shortlisted books on behalf of the panel of judges. The event closed with an acceptance speech by the winner.

The Runciman Award

  1. The Anglo-Hellenic League Runciman Award was conceived in 1983, as an initiative of Earl Jellicoe, the then chairman of the League, in honour of Sir Steven Runciman, the distinguished historian of Byzantium and longest-serving chairman of the League (1951-1967). It was first awarded in 1986 and has been awarded most years since then.
  2. The award is given to the best book (or books) written in English in the previous year on a Greek subject. It aims to stimulate interest in Greek history and culture from earliest times to the present; to reward and encourage good and accessible writing, of which Sir Steven’s works are an example; and to promote a wider knowledge and understanding of Greece’s contribution to civilisation and values. The prize may be awarded for a work in the field of history, literary studies, biography, travel and topography, the arts, architecture, archaeology, the environment, social and political sciences or current affairs; or for a work of fiction, poetry or drama. Translations from Greek literature into English are also eligible.
  3. No award was made in 2020. Books published in 2019 and 2020 were eligible for the award in 2021.
  4. The panel of judges for the award in 2021 comprises: Peter Frankopan (chair), Dionysis Kapsalis, Naoise Mac Sweeney, Judith Mossman and Sofka Zinovieff. The judges announced their long list of 21 titles on 14 January and their short list of 7 titles on 9 April (see www.runcimanaward.org).
  5. Roderick Beaton previously won the award in 1995 for An Introduction to Modern Greek Literature (Oxford: OUP 1994); in 2004 for George Seferis: Waiting for the Angel – A Biography (New Haven: Yale UP 2003); and in 2014 for Byron’s War: Romantic Rebellion, Greek Revolution (Cambridge: CUP 2013).
  6. Enquiries about the Runciman Award can be made to the acting award administrator (Dr John Kittmer) at info@anglohellenicleague.org. Information about the two sponsoring foundations can be found at: https://www.aclcf.org/about-en/the-foundation/and http://www.leventisfoundation.org/en/. The announcement to publishers for the Anglo-Hellenic League Runciman Award 2022 will be made in late October 2021.