Catz alum wins the Baillie Gifford Prize

Catz alumna Katherine Rundell (2005, English Language & Literature) has won the 2022 Baillie Gifford Prize for Non-Fiction for her book Super-Infinite: The Transformations of John Donne.

The book is a biography of John Donne, sixteenth- and seventeenth-century poet, scholar, MP and Dean of St Paul’s Cathedral.

The front cover of the book, featuring an image of John Dunne within a circle.The book also refers to Katherine’s time at St Catherine’s, dedicating it to Catz Fellow and Professor of English Literature Bart van Es: ‘whose teaching,’ Katherine says, ‘changed the course of my life.’

The Baillie Gifford Prize is awarded annually to a piece of non-fiction writing in the English language and is the most prestigious non-fiction writing prize in the UK. The winner receives a cash prize of £50,000.

On the book, chair of the judging panel, Caroline Sanderson, said: ‘Super-Infinite, Katherine Rundell’s glorious celebration of the life and work of the poet John Donne is our unanimous winner of the 2022 Baillie Gifford Prize for Non-Fiction.

‘Exquisitely rendered, its passion, playfulness and sparkling prose seduced all of us. Rundell makes an irresistible case for Donne’s work to be widely read 400 years later, for all the electric joy and love it expresses. And in so doing, she gives us a myriad reasons why poetry – why the arts – matter.’

See what the other judges thought of Katherine’s book:

Katherine is a Fellow of All Souls College, Oxford and the bestselling author of several children’s books. Her academic research focuses on Renaissance literature, including the work of John Donne.

The College sends its congratulations to her on receiving this prize.