Announcement of Inaugural Ellen Meiksins Wood Prize & Lecture


In January 2016, the Broadbent Institute lost our dear friend and inspiration Professor Ellen Meiksins Wood.

Ellen was an internationally renowned scholar, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, and author of 8 books published in a dozen languages.  One of the most influential political theorists of her generation, Ellen was also passionately committed to making progress in the here and now.  For her, in the deepest sense, democracy means “nothing more nor less than people’s power, or even the power of the common people or the poor.”

Earlier this year, the Institute Board founded the annual Ellen Meiksins Wood Prize & Lecture to honour Ellen’s legacy and to bring it to new generations of Canadians.

The $10,000 award will be given annually to an academic, labour activist or writer who has made an outstanding contribution in political theory, social or economic history, human rights, or sociology.  It acknowledges Ellen’s legacy of historical scholarship on political thought. The Awardees will be chosen for work that is emblematic of Ellen’s two-fold belief that democracy is always fought for and secured from below, not conferred from above; and, that the egalitarian values of democracy are in ongoing conflict with the unequal outcomes of capitalism.

The Institute is delighted to announce that the inaugural Ellen Meiksins Wood Prize will be awarded to distinguished British journalist, playwright and film-maker, Paul Mason.

Paul has had a rich career as a thought leader on global progressive politics.  He is the author of five books, the latest entitled “Post-Capitalism:  A Guide to our Future.”

Paul says:  "I'm delighted to be awarded the inaugural Ellen Meiksins Wood Prize. Ellen's work influenced my thinking profoundly and her work on the origins of democratic thought is more relevant than ever as kleptocratic presidential rule becomes fashionable from East to West. The renewal of our politics through a radical humanism has become a practical and urgent task and I hope to outline some new thinking in the inaugural lecture."

Institute Chair and Founder, Ed Broadbent says:  “Paul’s innovative, imaginative and entertaining body of work exemplifies the ideals that Ellen believed in and wrote about.  The Institute could not be more pleased to award this Prize, in its inaugural year, to this international progressive opinion leader.”

Paul Mason delivered the inaugural Ellen Meiksins Wood lecture in Toronto in March 2018.


About Paul Mason:

Paul Mason is a journalist, playwright and film-maker based in London, UK. Born in Leigh, Lancashire in 1960, he graduated from Sheffield University. After an initial career in academic musicology, he switched to journalism, working for various UK business magazines before becoming business correspondent on BBC Newsnight, the UK's flagship current affairs programme. In this role, and later economics editor, he covered the Enron scandal, the underground Chinese labour movement, Hurricane Katrina, the 2008 financial crisis and the subsequent social unrest. In 2013 he moved to Channel 4 News, covering among other things the Edward Snowden intelligence and the 2014 Gaza war. His 2012 book "Why It's Kicking Off Everywhere", about the Arab Spring and Occupy movement, was adapted for the stage in 2015 by the Young Vic Theatre; his second play "Divine Chaos of Starry Things", about the communard Louise Michel also gained its first performance in off-West End theatre this year. Mason's 5 books include the novel Rare Earth, and the bestselling Postcapitalism: A Guide To Our Future. He has presented numerous TV and radio documetnaries, including "Northern Soul: Keeping the Faith", "Wagner: Power, Sex and Revolution" and #ThisIsACoup (2015) - an inside account of Syriza's resistance to the IMF/ECB. He left public service broadcasting in March 2016. He writes a weekly column in the Guardian and since leaving public service news reporting has become a strong public supporter of the Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn. His forthcoming book, to be published this year, is billed as a "defence of Marxist humanism".