We’re pleased to announce that Kojo Koram has been awarded the annual PEN Hessell-Tiltman Prize 2023. The Prize of £2,000, endowed by former PEN member Marjorie Hessell-Tiltman’s bequest, celebrates the best non-fiction on any historical subject. The winner was announced in partnership with the Bodleian Libraries at the Weston Library, Oxford.
Uncommon Wealth: Britain and the Aftermath of Empire (John Murray Press) is the little known and shocking history of how Britain treated its former non-white colonies after the end of empire.
This year’s judging panel for the PEN Hessell-Tiltman Prize is chaired by academic Dan Hicks. He is joined by environmental humanities scholar and art historian Sria Chatterjee, and artistic director of the Migration Museum, Aditi Anand.
Chair of the judging panel, Dan Hicks, said: “With its meticulous, urgent and highly original retelling of the imperial origins of contemporary British socio-economic realities, Kojo Koram follows the money to show how colonialism continues to shape our contemporary world. The result is that most unusual thing: a book about the past that will have resonance for years to come.”
Sria Chatterjee said: “Uncommon Wealth is a rare treasure. It shows us, in lucid, engaging prose, how our current economic crises in Britain and inequalities across the globe are bound up in and impacted by the aftermath of empire.”
Aditi Anand said: “Uncommon Wealth masterfully connects the dots between the past and the present and between Britain and the world, always remaining accessible and engaging while grappling with big, complex ideas.”
Zoe Sadler, Events and Prizes Manager, English PEN, said: “Our heartfelt congratulations to Kojo Koram who has won this year’s PEN Hessell-Tiltman Prize. Uncommon Wealth is an essential history of the shocking inequality that Britain enabled in the aftermath of empire, beautifully written and radically informative of the present, as well as the past. Congratulations Kojo, and to all our shortlisted authors.”