The American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS) this week announced the winners of the inaugural 2024 ACLS Open Access Book Prizes and Arcadia Open Access Publishing Awards.

In the history category, Freedom Seekers: Escaping from Slavery in Restoration London by Simon P. Newman (University of London Press, 2022) took home the top honor. In a statement, the judges called the book a “well-argued, and effectively presented,” exploration of “slavery's deeply embedded history in Britain and the Atlantic world.”

In the “multimodal” category, the award went to As I Remember It: Teachings (ʔəms tɑʔɑw) from the Life of a Sliammon Elder by Elsie Paul with Davis McKenzie, Paige Raibmon, and Harmony Johnson (University of British Columbia Press/RavenSpace, 2019). The judges called the book “a massive intellectual contribution” preserving “a lost language, culture, and folkways."

Administered by ACLS and supported by the Arcadia, a charitable foundation that works to preserve cultural heritage and promote open access to knowledge, the prizes “recognize and reward the authors and publishers of exceptional, innovative, and open access humanities books published from 2017 to 2022.” The winning authors will share a cash award of $20,000, and the winning publishers will share a grant for $30,000 to support “the immediate open access publication of at least two new books.”

In a statement, ACLS officials reiterated their commitment to open access—by which publishing costs are covered upfront and the resulting works are freely accessible readers—as a way to share knowledge and scholarship, and praised the 2024 winners.

“Their books freely provide communities worldwide with accurate research on topics that have been historically and often intentionally held at the margins of academic inquiry,” said ACLS President Joy Connolly. “We look forward to continuing our work with Arcadia to cultivate an ecosystem in which humanistic publications thrive in a larger circle of readers.”

Each prize winner was selected by a distinguished panel of judges from a shortlist of five finalists. Submissions for the 2025 ACLS Open Access Book Prizes and Arcadia Open Access Publishing Awards will open in May 2024.