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  • Homelands: A Personal History of Europe selected as the best non-fiction book published in the English language on the subject of international affairs
  • The Lionel Gelber Prize is chosen annually by an international jury of journalists, practitioners and scholars, and awarded by University of Toronto's Munk School of Global Affairs & Public Policy
  • High-resolution photos of the author and images of the book cover are available upon request

TORONTO, March 6, 2024 -- Judith Gelber, Chair of the Lionel Gelber Prize board, announced today that the winner of the 2024 Lionel Gelber Prize is Homelands: A personal history of Europe by Timothy Garton Ash, published by Yale University Press. Chosen by a jury of international journalists, practitioners and scholars, the Gelber Prize is awarded annually to the best book on international affairs published in English. The Prize is presented by the University of Toronto's Munk School of Global Affairs & Public Policy. The winner will receive $50,000.

Images: The Lionel Gelber Prize; Munk School of Global Affairs & Public Policy; University of Toronto

Jury Chair and University Professor Janice Stein reflected, "Timothy Garton Ash's book is beautifully written. Homelands is the story of freedom, its decline in Europe after a decade of optimism that the space for liberal democracy in Europe was expanding. Garton Ash has written a love letter to freedom, laced with passion, disappointment, and above all deep concern that we do not appreciate its fragility and do not treasure it enough." She added that the author's personal engagement is what makes this book so remarkable. "Homelands is not a book typical of a historian who stands back from history. It is written by someone who is deeply involved with the history he is living. I think everyone who reads this book will be enriched by it."

The winning title was selected from a shortlist of masterfully-written books which included Power and Progress: Our 1000-year struggle over technology and prosperity, by Daron Acemoglu and Simon Johnson (PublicAffairs, Hatchette Book Group); Underground Empire: How America weaponized the world economy by Henry Farrell and Abraham Newman (Macmillan, Henry Holt and Co., U.S.; Allen Lane, an imprint of Penguin Press, U.K.) Seven Crashes: The economic crises that shaped globalization, Harold James (Yale University Press) We, The Data: Human rights in the digital age, Wendy Wong (MIT Press).

The 2024 Lionel Gelber Prize was chosen by Prof. Janice Gross Stein (Jury Chair), Prof. Rosa Brooks (Washington), Prof. Francis J. Gavin (Washington), Iain Martin (London) and Eric Reguly (Rome).

The Winner 

Homelands: A personal history of Europe, Timothy Garton Ash (Yale University Press)

Timothy Garton Ash, Europe's "historian of the present," has been "breathing Europe" for the last half century. In Homelands he embarks on a journey in time and space around the postwar continent, drawing on his own notes from many great events, giving vivid firsthand accounts of its leading actors, revisiting the places where its history was made, and recalling its triumphs and tragedies through their imprint on the present.

Garton Ash offers an account of events as seen from the ground—history illustrated by memoir. He describes how Europe emerged from wartime devastation to rebuild, to triumph with the fall of the Berlin Wall, to democratize and unite. And then to falter. It is a singular history of a period of unprecedented progress along with a clear-eyed account of how so much went wrong, from the financial crisis of 2008 to the war in Ukraine. From the pen of someone who, in spite of Brexit, emphatically describes himself as an English European, this is both a tour d'horizon and a tour de force.

Timothy Garton Ash is professor of European studies at the University of Oxford and senior fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University. His books include The Magic Lantern, his eyewitness account of the revolutions of 1989; The File: A Personal History, based on reading his own Stasi file; and History of the Present. He lives in Oxford, England. 

The Event

The Lionel Gelber Prize lecture and discussion will take place on April 18, 2024, presented in a hybrid format by the University of Toronto's Munk School.

For more information, visit the Lionel Gelber Prize website.

The Prize

The Lionel Gelber Prize was founded in 1989 by Canadian diplomat Lionel Gelber. A cash prize of $50,000 CAD is awarded to the winner. The award is presented annually by the Lionel Gelber Prize Board and the Munk School of Global Affairs & Public Policy at the University of Toronto.

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Lani Krantz,, (647) 407-4384 (text preferred)

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