Awards: Cundill; Goldsmiths; WH Smith Books of the Year

British historian Daniel Beer won the $75,000 Cundill Prize in Historical Literature, administered by McGill University in Montreal, for The House of the Dead: Siberian Exile Under the Tsars (Knopf).

Chair of the jury Margaret MacMillan said Beer "has done extraordinary research, using underappreciated and unexamined sources, to show what exile meant to generations of Russians and other nationalities within the Russian Empire. He gives a moving and heart-rending account of what happened to these people, most of whom never returned from Siberia. The House of the Dead is a haunting and important contribution to Russian history, and a hugely deserving winner of the 2017 Cundill History Prize."

Juror Amanda Foreman praised his "universality of approach that is both innovative and important. He tells the story of an immense tragedy, spanning hundreds of years. The House of the Dead uses a huge canvas, but Beer is able to bring out individual stories and a real sense of what it means to be human. This book is a triumph."


Nicola Barker won the £10,000 (about $13,200) Goldsmiths Prize, which recognizes "a book that is deemed genuinely novel and which embodies the spirit of invention that characterizes the genre at its best," for H(a)ppy. Barker is the first English novelist to win the prize.

Chair of Judges Naomi Wood said H(a)ppy is "a structural marvel to hold in the mind and in the hands. Line by line, color by color, this dystopic utopia is an ingenious closed loop of mass surveillance, technology, and personality-modifying psychopharmaceuticals. H(a)ppy is a fabulous demonstration of what the Goldsmiths Prize champions: innovation of form that only ever enriches the story. In Barker's 3D-sculpture of a novel, H(a)ppy makes the case for the novel as a physical form and an object of art."


Gail Honeyman's Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine and Henry Fraser's The Little Big Things have been named the 2017 WH Smith Fiction and Nonfiction Book of the Year respectively, the Bookseller reported. The winning titles will be featured in all of the bookstore chain's downtown stores.

Sue Scholes, WH Smith fiction buyer, commented: "I am absolutely delighted that Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine is the WH Smith Fiction Book of the Year for 2017. I absolutely loved it, and so did everyone else who I know who has read it. It's a very deserving winner."

Dave Swillman, WH Smith nonfiction trading controller, said The Little Big Thing is "truly inspirational--a book to read, love and recommend to everyone! I'm not alone in thinking this is a just title for such an award."

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