The London Hellenic Prize
Anglo-Hellenic cultural exchange received its first major boost with James Stuart’s and Nicholas Revett’s tours of the ancient Greek sites and monuments in the 1750’s. The publication of the first volume of The Antiquities of Athens in 1762, followed by a sequel of three volumes over three decades, influenced Georgian art and architecture, fashion and taste for almost a century. It all began with the adventurous journey of two young architects into the classical past which inspired and created new standards and ways of living for generations of cultured English men and women. In many instances, and for long periods of time, it nourished and inspired the artistic imagination.
From the 1850’s onwards, following the establishment of the modern Greek nation, generations of Greek tradesmen and entrepreneurs settled in England. Prosperous Hellenic communities flourished in London, Manchester, Liverpool and Cardiff from the mid-19th and throughout the 20th centuries. The Ralli brothers, initially Levant merchants based in Constantinople and Chios, grew their shipping-based merchant bank into Queen Victoria’s major international financier. Executive Dimitris Vikelas conceived and organised the first Olympic Games, successfully held in Athens in 1896, from his home in Bloomsbury where he also wrote novels and short stories, considered to this day major works of Greek literature. Until very recently, Greek shipping held a prominent role in the City with more than 100 active businesses registered as members of the Greek Shipping Cooperation Committee representing the largest commercial fleet in the world.
The London Hellenic Prize was conceived as an international award committed to the promotion of Anglo-Hellenic cultural exchange. Since its inception in 1996, it has been administered by the London Hellenic Society. In 2017 it was registered as an independent non-profit company with charitable educational objectives and as such it will continue to recognize and reward original works in the English language inspired by Hellenic civilization (ancient, classical, Hellenistic, Byzantine or modern). Areas of interest are not restricted and the Committee’s general criteria have always been excellence, originality and appeal to the general reader. The prize has been awarded to date to works on archaeology, architecture, art, classics, history, literary criticism, science, social studies, as well as to works of fiction.
Submissions each year meet the deadline of 31st January of the year following the date of publication and arrive from publishers and authors worldwide, from London to Los Angeles, from Athens to Sydney. The Committee adjudicates from February to June and co-opts readers and specialists in all required fields. The London Hellenic Prize is a truly international award in scope and substance. It’s value has remained unchanged at (pounds) 10,000 since inception.