Author Nandini Das wins the 2023 British Academy Book Prize

current affairs - 2023-11-02

Author Nandini Das wins the 2023 British Academy Book Prize


Nandini Das, an Indian-born author, has won the 2023 British Academy Book Prize for Global Cultural Understanding, a prestigious international non-fiction award of £25,000, for her book Courting India: England, Mughal India, and the Origins of Empire. The debut work of the U.K.-based professor, billed as the “true origin story of Britain and India told through England’s first diplomatic mission to the Mughal courts,” was announced as this year’s winner on Tuesday evening at a ceremony at the British Academy in London.

Author and Book:

  • The 2023 British Academy Book Prize will be awarded to Nandini Das, an Indian-born author and Professor at the University of Oxford.
  • The title of her winning book is “Courting India: England, Mughal India, and the Origins of Empire.”

Prestigious award:

  • The British Academy Book Prize for Global Cultural Understanding is a well-known worldwide nonfiction prize.
  • It is intended to recognize and reward great works of nonfiction that exhibit rigour and help to a better knowledge of world cultures and histories.

Debut Work:

  • Nandini Das’ award-winning novel is her first, which makes her accomplishment all the more impressive.

Historical Consideration:

  • By delving into the beginnings of the British Empire, the book provides a novel historical perspective.
  • It centres on the arrival of Sir Thomas Roe, the first English envoy in India, in the early 17th century.

Use of Contemporary Sources:

  • Nandini Das’ research is praised for its utilization of current sources, such as publications by Indian and British politicians, authorities, and merchants.
  • This method depicts the early contacts between the two cultures, as well as the misunderstandings that sometimes happened, vividly and immediately.

Contrasting Contexts:

  • The book contrasts an impoverished and insecure Britain with the booming, confident Mughal Empire.
  • This assists readers in comprehending the historical background of these diplomatic contacts.

Prize Funding

  • Nandini Das will receive a large £25,000 award as the winner of the British Academy Book Award in 2023.

Other Works on the Shortlist:

  • Other important books were “Black Ghost of Empire: The Long Death of Slavery and the Failure of Emancipation” by Kris Manjapra, a Caribbean-born author.
  • Each of the shortlisted works will be awarded £1,000 for their contributions to non-fiction writing.


  • Nandini Das’ victory highlights the significance of her study and writing in shining light on the historical linkages between Britain and India.
  • Her work is essential in reevaluating and widening our understanding of the British Empire’s origins through diplomatic missions and early relations with the Mughal Empire.


Overall, Nandini Das’s victory of the 2023 British Academy Book Prize is a credit to her scholarly accomplishments and ability to give a novel viewpoint on a vital chapter of history, improving our understanding of worldwide cultural ties and historical legacies.