Guardian editorial writer Tania Branigan has won the $75,000 (U.S.) Cundill History Prize for her book Red Memory: Living, Remembering and Forgetting China’s Cultural Revolution.
Branigan received the award at a ceremony in Montreal on November 8.
Red Memory was one of three finalists for the prize, administered by McGill University, that is awarded annually to a book that embodies historical scholarship, originality, literary quality, and broad appeal. Finalists Kate Cooper and James Morton Turner were each awarded $10,000 (U.S.) for their books Queens of a Fallen World: The Lost Women of Augustine’s Confessions and Charged: A History of Batteries and Lessons for a Clean Energy Future.
Branigan wrote Red Memory, her first, while she was reporting in China where she spent seven years as the Guardian‘s China correspondent. Based on hours of interviews, Red Memory gives a voice to those who lived through Mao’s Cultural Revolution and whose voices are rarely heard.
“Haunting and memorable, Branigan’s sensitive study of the impact of the Cultural Revolution on the lives and psyches of an entire generation in China affected every juror, as it will every reader,” jury chair Philippa Levine said in a statement. “All of us found ourselves unable to stop thinking about this extraordinary book.”