Whitfield Book Prize

The Post Office, April 1809, Designed and etched by Thomas Rowlandson, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, public domain


The Whitfield Book Prize has become one of the most sought after book prizes for early career historians. It was established by the Royal Historical Society in 1976 at the bequest of Professor Archibald Stenton Whitfield, who was a Fellow of the Society from June 1916 until his death in 1974. The prize offers an annual award of £1,000 for a work on British or Irish history that is the author’s first sole book publication.

Whitfield Book Prize Winner, 2022

Image of slide Dr Kristin D. Hussey whose book, Imperial Bodies in London. Empire, Mobility, and the Making of British Medicine, 1880-1914 (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2021) was announced Winner of the 2022 Whitfield Prize.

Many congratulations to Dr Kristin D. Hussey whose book, Imperial Bodies in London. Empire, Mobility, and the Making of British Medicine, 1880-1914 (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2021), was announced as this year’s winner on 22 July. The Whitfield Prize judges praised a book that:

brings together postcolonial scholarship with the history of medicine to impressive effect. As well as a superb intellectual achievement, the book is also written with creativity and imagination, bringing to life the physicality of its sources.

Details of all recipients and runners-up for the 2022 Prizes and Awards, including Kristin’s acceptance speech, are available here.

Eligibility for the Whitfield Book Prize, 2023

Submissions for the 2023 Prize will be accepted from publishers from 1 September 2022. To be eligible for consideration for the prize, the book must:

  • be its author’s first solely written history book;
  • be on any historical subject related to British or Irish history;
  • be an original and scholarly work of historical research by an author who received their doctoral degree from a British or Irish university;
  • have been published in English during the calendar year 2022 (for the 2023 award).

Only printed and e-books bearing a 2022 copyright date are eligible for consideration in the current round. Books issued by publishers in the final weeks of 2022, which bear a copyright date of 2023, will be eligible for nomination in the 2023 awards.

Books focused on Atlantic World, British imperial, and trans-national contexts for British and Irish history should be entered for the Gladstone Book Prize. The Chair of the Whitfield Prize Committee will make the final decision as to the eligibility of each submitted volume. The Chairs of the Whitfield Prize Committee and the Gladstone Prize Committee will together decide which competition is most appropriate for any books falling between the criteria for each prize.

Notes for submitting to the Whitfield Book Prize, 2023

  • Publishers are invited to nominate books published in 2022 for the 2023 award. (Please note: authors cannot submit their own work.). However, we also ask that colleagues encourage early career historians, across the HE sector, to propose their work for submission by a publisher. This is especially encouraged for early career historians from under-represented groups.
  • The RHS welcomes eligible submissions from the widest possible range of publishers: this includes university presses, commercial publishers of all scales, and non-UK publishers when publishing the first scholarly work by a historian with a doctorate from a UK or Irish university
  • maximum of 4 books may be submitted by any publisher. In selecting your nominations, publishers are asked to follow the Society’s recommendations in our 2018 reports on Race, Ethnicity & Equality and Gender Equality: books submitted should reflect the diversity of those working in the discipline and of their chosen areas of research.
  • Publishers are asked to ensure submissions comply with the eligibility requirements. Any questions may be sent to: philip.carter@royalhistsoc.org.

Timetable for submissions to the 2023 Whitfield Prize

  • Submissions for the 2023 Prize open: 1 September 2022. All submissions are via the RHS Prize Applications Portal.
  • Closing date for entries for the 2023 Prize: 31 December 2022.

To complete the submission per title, publishers are required submit one copy (non-returnable) of the eligible book by 31 December 2022. Books should be sent to the: Membership and Office Administrator, Royal Historical Society, University College London, Gower Street, London, WC1E 6BT. Should the book be short-listed, two further copies will be required.

All enquiries about the Prize should be addressed to the RHS. Please contact the Membership and Administration Officer at: membership@royalhistsoc.org.

List of previous Whitfield Book Prize Winners