Dr Clare Jackson, former Sidney student and Junior Research Fellow, has authored an acclaimed book that has won one of the most prestigious prizes for historical writing.

Dr Jackson studied history as an undergraduate at Sidney and returned to complete a PhD on royalist ideas in late-seventeenth century Scotland. After completing a Junior Research Fellowship at Sidney, Jackson moved to Trinity Hall in 2000, where she is currently Senior Tutor and Walter Grant Scott Fellow, College Associate Professor and Director of Studies in History.

Jackson’s prize-winning book, Devil-Land: England Under Siege, 1588-1688 (published by Allen Lane) is centred on England in the grip of civil war, fire, plague and political division, leading European neighbours to refer to the country as ‘Devil-Land’.

Devil-Land features a series of first-hand accounts from foreigners living in a near-constant state of radicalism and crisis, from the eve of the Spanish Armada through to the Glorious Revolution. Professor Sir David Cannadine, chair of the judges, described the book as “a masterpiece” and “gripping”.

Dr Clare Jackson and her award-winning book, ‘Devil-Land’ | Image credit: University of Cambridge

Dr Clare Jackson and her award-winning book, ‘Devil-Land’ | Image credit: University of Cambridge

Jackson said: “One of Devil-Land’s aims was to draw attention to pervasive themes of anxiety and vulnerability felt by many seventeenth-century contemporaries about England’s relations with its British and Continental neighbours and, when we consider geopolitical relations around the world today, a similar sense of fragility and precarity remains resonant.

“I’m delighted and deeply honoured to have won the Wolfson History Prize which recognises historical writing that combines academic scholarship with accessibility for a broad readership. It’s thrilling to join the hugely distinguished list of previous prize-winners and to share in the celebrations of the Wolfson History Prize’s special 50th anniversary year.”

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