Roderick Beaton Wins the Runciman Award 2021 with ‘Greece: Biography of a Modern Nation’

The winner of the Anglo-Hellenic League Runciman Award 2021 is Roderick Beaton for Greece: Biography of a Modern Nation (London: Allen Lane 2019). In winning the Runciman Award for a fourth time, Prof. Beaton has set a new record of achievement. Announcing the result of this year’s competition, Prof. Peter Frankopan, the chair of judges, said:

We were lucky enough to read some breath-takingly good books this year – including many that are both brave and ambitious, including re-tellings of stories that are well-known and investigations of real originality about topics rarely, if ever, looked at. Roddy Beaton’s book is a combination of all these qualities. It is not easy to write broad history for wide readership, and to do so well takes real skill. Covering recent centuries of Greece’s history requires courage too, as many have strong opinions about what should be written about – and how. What makes Beaton’s book stand out above all, however, is that just as Sir Steven Runciman’s books opened doors through which new generations of readers and scholars have since walked, so too will Greece: Biography of a Modern Nation. As a jury, we felt that this wonderful book captured the spirit of the Runciman Award perfectly.

John Kittmer, chair of the Council of The Anglo-Hellenic League, said:

On behalf of the League I warmly congratulate Roddy Beaton for winning this year’s Runciman Award. In its 35-year history Roddy is the only person to have won the award four times: a tremendous achievement. In relaunching the award under new sponsors in this year of the bicentenary of the Greek revolution, we are delighted that the judges have chosen to acknowledge the timely relevance of this great book.

The announcement of the winner of the Anglo-Hellenic League Runciman Award 2021 was made on Thursday 17 June, 7pm at an event held (because of Covid-19 restrictions) by Zoom webinar. Prof. Stathis Kalyvas (University of Oxford) gave the keynote address on ‘Why the Greek Revolution still matters today’. Peter Frankopan surveyed the field of longlisted and shortlisted books on behalf of the panel of judges. The event closed with an acceptance speech by the winner. 

A recording of the event is available now on the AHL YouTube channel:

The Anglo-Hellenic League Runciman Award is sponsored by the A. C. Laskaridis Charitable Foundation and the A. G. Leventis Foundation.

PART 2: The BBC Greek Service at Bush House

Watch our second interview session on the topic of the BBC Greek Service, which was situated in Bush House on the Strand from 1939 through 2005. This interview, too, is hosted by Koraes Professor Gonda Van Steen, in conversation with Dr Fiona Antonelaki, Postdoctoral Fellow at Princeton University’s Seeger Center for Hellenic Studies, who focuses on the modernist literary cultures of the BBC Greek Service. Next, Dr Foteini Dimirouli (University of Oxford), an expert on Anglo-Greek cultural and literary relations, approaches the productions of the BBC Greek Service from that scholarly perspective. Lastly, Dr Anna-Maria Sichani, who devoted her doctoral work to literary productions of the BBC Greek Service, introduces us to Greek modernists at the BCC. She is currently a research fellow on the AHRC-funded project ‘Connected Histories of the BBC’ (U of Sussex). All three speakers take turns to delve deeply into the archives and the stunning photographic materials related to the Greek Service. Enjoy!

INTERVIEW: Prof Dimitris Papanikolaou on the BBC Greek Service at Bush House

Watch an interview with Professor Dimitris Papanikolaou (Oxford) on the topic of the BBC Greek Service (1939-2005), which was situated in Bush House on the Strand. A second interview, again hosted by Koraes Professor Gonda Van Steen, will feature the work of a research team that will be delving into the archives of the BBC Greek Service.

International History Now: The Greek Revolution

Contributed by Dr George Giannakopoulos, Visiting Fellow, Centre for Hellenic Studies, King’s College London. George is also the author of this essay published in Jacobin Magazine on 25 March 2021.

Take a look at this recent episode in the podcast series ‘International History Now’, which I produce with my LSE-based colleague Dr. Dina Gusejnova. In this episode we discuss key aspects of the Greek Revolution with Profs. Mark Mazower, Katherine E. Fleming, and Effi Gazi.

The day of 25 March 1821 is celebrated annually in Greece as Greek Independence Day, a day that marks the birth of what some have seen as the first nation-state in Europe after post-revolutionary France. A series of localised revolts against Ottoman rule gave rise to a broad revolutionary wave that swept parts of the country. By the end of the 1820s, interventions by different European powers and the rise of philhellenic sentiment secured the state’s autonomous existence from the Ottomans. This development came at the price of greater dependence upon the so-called Great Powers: Britain, France, and Russia. As Greece celebrates the bicentennial of the events of 1821, we examine the dimensions of Greek dependence and independence from different angles. Was the war of independence a stand-alone event or part of a transnational process of revolutionary activity? How did the heterogeneous populations (Jews, Muslims) within what became the Greek nation-state experience the revolution and its aftermath? What kinds of sovereignty did Greece gain and how did its place in the world change over time? Finally, how is the revolution remembered in Greece today?


Mark Mazower, Ira D Wallach Professor of History at Columbia University and founding director of the new Columbia Institute for Ideas and Imagination

Katherine E. Fleming, Provost of New York University, Alexander S. Onassis Professor of Hellenic Culture and Civilization in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences at NYU

Effi Gazi, Professor of History at the University of the Peloponnese and a member of the editorial board of the journal Historein Music by Κυριάκος Τζωρτζινάκης, 4 Δημοτικές Εικόνες – Του βουνού (Four folk Images: Of the Mountain) (1975), recording by Andreas Vlachos (2021).

INTERVIEW: Konstantinos Kalantzis

Prof Gonda Van Steen interviews Dr Kostis Kalantzis. He is currently a lecturer at the Department of Culture, Creative Media and Industries at the University of Thessaly (Volos, Greece). His new book, ‘Tradition in the Frame’, explores the ambivalence of a society expected to conform to outsiders’ perception of the traditional even as it strives to enact its own vision of tradition.

See more of Kostis Kalantzis’ work here.

PODCAST: Introduction to 21in21

Take a listen to this podcast introduction to the 21in21 events programme. It draws special attention to the upcoming and very timely panel discussion of January 28, 2021, hosted by Professor Kevin Featherstone, Director of the Hellenic Observatory at LSE. The other speakers are Koraes Professor Gonda Van Steen and Dr George Giannakopoulos (King’s College London).

PODCAST: Dr Joanna Eleftheriou

In conversation with Prof. Gonda Van Steen, with the generous technical support of Dr George Giannakopoulos, King’s College London, and with special thanks to Dr Marios Psaras, Cultural Counsellor, CHC

An interview about This Way Back, a Cyprus-focused memoir published by Joanna Eleftheriou on 1 October 2020, here presented as part of the Cyprus@60 Online Festival, organised by the Cyprus High Commission, UK – Cultural Section.

Beyond Words: History and Translation in Modern Greek Fiction

We are delighted to invite you to a Virtual Panel Discussion organised in collaboration with British School at Athens and Aiora Press on Friday 2 October at 6pm (UK) / 8pm (Greece).


David Ricks (King’s College London)

Karen Emmerich (Princeton)

Lambrini Kouzeli (journalist and translator)

Joshua Barley (translator)

Abstract: a panel discussion exploring how translators manage the reader’s historical awareness in relation to modern Greek fiction and how these works can be made relevant for a contemporary audience.

Register via Zoom here.