The Anglo-Hellenic League Runciman Award 2022

IAN COLLINS WINS THE ANGLO-HELLENIC LEAGUE RUNCIMAN AWARD 2022 FOR JOHN CRAXTON: A LIFE OF GIFTS

We are delighted to announce that the winner of the Anglo-Hellenic League Runciman Award 2022 is Ian Collins for John Craxton: A Life of Gifts (New Haven & London: Yale University Press 2021).

Announcing the result of this year’s competition on Monday 13 June at a ceremony in the Great Hall of King’s College London, in the presence of the League’s Chief Patron & President, HRH Prince Michael of Kent, and a large audience, Prof. Peter Frankopan, the chair of judges, said:

‘This was a wonderful year to be a judge of the Runciman Award. The books we read were a glorious kaleidoscope that showed the range of interest in all things Hellenic, from the ancient world to the present, from poetry to historical fiction, from top class classical studies to translations of Byzantine texts. As usual, we deliberated long and hard to try to choose one book from this impressive collection. In the end, we decided that John Craxton: A Life of Gifts by Ian Collins, was the most exciting and interesting – and a perfect winner of this prize. Furthermore, we felt that Sir Stephen Runciman would have heartily approved of our choice.’

The winner of the Award, Ian Collins, said:

Winning the 2022 Runciman Award is an enormous honour for me – and it’s the icing on the cake in John Craxton’s centenary year. The complete Philhellene and the ultimate hedonist, John Craxton wanted only to live and work in Greece. He got his wish at the age of 23 and enduring joy coloured his ensuing pictures. But he long resisted a biography. We were close friends for his last decade and when he finally agreed that I could tell his story, I confessed to keeping copious notes since our first meeting. Many interviews followed and ended at his hospital bed in 2009. I have remained happily in his company ever since, putting together A Life of Gifts. This wonderful award is really for him – a magical artist and a supreme sensualist, wit and anarchic spirit who enjoyed a life-long love affair with Greece.

The Chair of the Council of the League, Dr John Kittmer, said:

Many congratulations to Ian Collins for his magnificent winning biography of John Craxton. The Anglo-Hellenic League celebrates the very best of what binds Britain and Greece together. Through his life and work John Craxton expressed through artistic creation the love that flows between our two countries. It’s a great book of a wonderful life.’

The announcement of the winner of the Anglo-Hellenic League Runciman Award 2022 was made on Monday 13 June, 7pm at King’s College London, which co-hosted the event with the Anglo-Hellenic League. Prof. Richard Hunter FBA (University of Cambridge) gave the keynote address on ‘“Those who do not know the sea”: Homer and the margins of the Greek world’. Prof. Peter Frankopan surveyed the field of longlisted and shortlisted books on behalf of the panel of judges and announced the winner. The winner presented his book in a beautifully illustrated acceptance speech. Addresses were also given by Prof. Marion Thain (KCL), Dr John Kittmer (the League) and Prof. Gonda Van Steen (KCL).

The award, which is worth £10,000, is sponsored by the A.C. Laskaridis Charitable Foundation and the A.G. Leventis Foundation.

NOTES TO EDITORS:

1. The Anglo-Hellenic League Runciman Award was conceived in 1983, as an initiative of Earl Jellicoe, the then chairman of the League, in honour of Sir Steven Runciman, the distinguished historian of Byzantium and longest-serving chairman of the League (1951-1967). It was first awarded in 1986 and has been awarded most years since then.

2. The award is given to the best book (or books) published in English in the previous year on a Greek subject. It aims to stimulate interest in Greek history and culture from earliest times to the present; to reward and encourage good and accessible writing, of which Runciman’s works are an example; and to promote a wider knowledge and understanding of Greece’s contribution to civilisation and values. The prize may be awarded for a work in the field of history, literary studies, biography, travel and topography, the arts, architecture, archaeology, the environment, social and political sciences or current affairs; or for a work of fiction, poetry or drama. Translations from Greek literature into English are also eligible. Books published in 2021 were eligible for the award in 2022.

3. The panel of judges for the award in 2022 comprised: Prof. Peter Frankopan (chair), Dr Dionysis Kapsalis, Prof. Naoise Mac Sweeney, Prof. Judith Mossman and Dr Sofka Zinovieff. The judges announced their long list of 23 titles on 5 January and their short list of 8 titles on 8 April (see www.runcimanaward.org and www.anglohellenicleague.org).

4. Ian Collins is an independent art writer and curator. He has written monographs on Rose Hilton, Joan Leigh Fermor and John McLean and has worked with galleries from the Yale Center for British Art in New Haven, to the Sainsbury Centre in Norwich. He co-curated the popular 2017-18 exhibition Charmed Lives in Greece: Ghika, Craxton, Leigh Fermor, which toured from the A.G. Leventis Gallery in Nicosia to the Benaki Museum in Athens and the British Museum in London. Now he is curating John Craxton’s centenary touring exhibition: John Craxton: A Greek Soul. The show is running at the Benaki Museum in Athens until 11 September 2022 (https://www.benaki.org/index.php?option=com_events&view=event&type=&id=1016119&lang=en), before moving to Chania’s Municipal Art Gallery (October 2022 to the end of January 2023) and Mesher Istanbul (March to June 2023). Then it will come to the UK. Ian lives in England and Greece.

5. The winning book, John Craxton: A Life of Gifts (New Haven and London: Yale University Press 2021), has been published in Greek translation as John Craxton: Ο αγαπημένος της ζωής. Μία ελληνική ψυχή (Athens: Patakis 2022).

6. Enquiries about the Runciman Award can be made to the acting administrator (Dr John Kittmer) at runciman@anglohellenicleague.org. Information about the two sponsoring foundations can be found at: https://www.aclcf.org/about-en/the-foundation/ and http://www.leventisfoundation.org/en/. The announcement to publishers about nominations for the Anglo-Hellenic League Runciman Award 2023 will be made in October 2022.

Council of the League

The Anglo-Hellenic League

  c/o The Hellenic Centre

  16-18 Paddington Street

  London W1U 5AS

14 June 2022