The entrance to the Department of History’s office in Sidney Smith Hall

Professor William Nelson Wins Notting Hill Essay Prize

July 7, 2017

We are pleased to share the news that Professor William Nelson has been awarded the 2017 Notting Hill Essay Prize, and the accompanying £20,000 prize. Professor Nelson is a historian of ideas, who specializes in the history of the Enlightenment and French Revolution. His prize-winning essay, "Five Ways of Being a Painting," is a departure from his writings for an academic audience but continues his exploration of ideas thinking about "ways that people can 'be' paintings."  In awarding the prize to Professor Nelson, the judges note his essay embodies "a curious mix of the  philosophical and the personal, the argumentative and the ruminative."

The prestigious Notting Hill Editions Essay Prize contest received over 500 submissions this year. The goal of the Prize is to "reinvigorate the art of the essay." Professor Nelson's essay will be published next month in the collection Five Ways of Being a  Painting and Other Essays (Notting Hill Editions, 2017).

Read more in UofT News and read a excerpt of the essay on the Independent.


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Photograph of Professor William Nelson
Professor William Nelson. Photo courtesy of Ken Jones.