HKU Chair Professor of Humanities Frank Dik├Âtter awarded the 2011 BBC Samuel Johnson Prize for Non-Fiction

13 July 2011 (Wednesday)

Chair Professor of Humanities of the University of Hong Kong Frank Dikötter has been awarded the 2011 BBC Samuel Johnson Prize for Non-Fiction for his book Mao's Great Famine: The History of China's Most Devastating Catastrophe, 1958-62.

The announcement was made by chair of the judges, Ben Macintyre, at an awards ceremony on Wednesday, July 6, at the Royal Institute of British Architects. He praised the book as an "epic record of human folly" and "essential reading for anyone seeking to understand the history of the 20th Century".

Mao's Great Famine, which beat five other short-listed titles to the award, reveals new details of the period from 1958-1962, providing fresh historical perspectives on Mao's campaign to increase industrial production during which tens of millions starved to death. Frank Dikötter was one of a small number of historians to be given access into the Chinese archives.

Frank Dikötter is Chair Professor of Humanities at the University of Hong Kong. He has pioneered the use of archival sources and published nine books that have changed the way historians view modern China. Mao's Great Famine: The History of China's Most Devastating Catastrophe is published by Bloomsbury and Walker Books. It was selected as one of the Books of the Year in 2010 by The Economist, The Independent, the Sunday Times, the London Evening Standard, The Telegraph, the New Statesman and the BBC History Magazine.

About the BBC Samuel Johnson Prize
The BBC Samuel Johnson Prize for Non-Fiction is one of the UK's most prestigious literary prizes. Worth £20,000 to the winning author, it is the 13th year of the prize which aims to reward the best non-fiction published in the UK, from biography, travel and popular science to the arts and current affairs.

For interview and biography of Professor Frank Dikötter, please visit:
http://web.mac.com/dikotter/Dikotter/Home.html

For BBC Samuel Johnson Prize official website, please visit:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-14045941

For media enquiries, please contact: Ms Trinni Choy, tel: 2859 2606 email: pychoy@hku.hk or Ms Melanie Wan tel: 2859 2600 email: melwkwan@hku.hk .

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