Charleston John Maynard Keynes Prize

The Charleston John Maynard Keynes Prize


The Prize is given in memory of the great economist John Maynard Keynes and celebrates outstanding thinkers and practitioners who have put their gifts to the enhancement of humanity. In keeping with Keynes’ multi-disciplinary achievements and interests, which embraced the arts and sciences as well as economics, the recipient of the Prize may come from any professional field.
Keynes is closely associated with Charleston. He wrote The Economic Consequences of the Peace whilst staying at Charleston and subsequently moved to Tilton, just a stroll across a field away. Keynes embodies the radical and interdisciplinary nature of the Charleston milieu. His The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money was recently voted the most influential academic book that has shaped our times.

The winner will be invited to give the annual Charleston Keynes lecture at the Charleston Festival each May.

The Advisory Panel

The advisory panel comprises Dame Liz Forgan, former Chair of the Scott Trust and of Arts Council England; Professor Simon Keynes, great-nephew of John Maynard Keynes; Anne Morrison, until recently Chair of BAFTA; currently Chair of BAFTA’s International Committee, board member of Women in Film and Television and a Trustee of The Charleston Trust, Professor Michael Proctor, Provost of King’s College, Cambridge and Lord Robert Skidelsky, Emeritus Professor of Political Economy, politician and award-winning biographer of Keynes.

2019 Winner: Mary Robinson

Climate justice champion Mary Robinson has been announced as the winner of the fifth Charleston John Maynard Keynes Prize. Mary Robinson is the first women to be honoured with the prize, given in the spirit of John Maynard Keynes’ work, life and legacy. Mary Robinson is the president of the Mary Robinson Foundation – Climate Justice, and has previously served as the United Nations Secretary-General’s Special Envoy on Climate Change. She is the former President of Ireland and former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.

In 2018, Robinson released the book Climate Justice, highlighting the work of her foundation which promotes the urgent need for innovation, global solidarity and empathy in the turbulent and troubling times in which we find ourselves. Through Climate Justice Robinson explores the profound injustice of climate change – that the vulnerable in our society will suffer most, those who are marginalised, poor, women and indigenous communities. Robinson is fighting for nations to address the imbalance and ensure that we leave a safer and fairer world to future generations.

On receiving the prize Mary Robinson said: “I am delighted to have been awarded a Prize which pays tribute to John Maynard Keynes.  In 2019 we are marking the 100th anniversary of the Paris Peace Conference at Versailles post world war one.  Keynes played a crucial role in warning that punitive reparations would lead to disaster rather than justice. His humanitarian advice was rejected and the second world war followed. We are at a similar turning point today. We need the nations of the world to come together to take necessary action to avert the global catastrophe of climate change. We need to show the same spirit of solidarity that John Maynard Keynes displayed in his time.”

2018 Winner: Sir David Attenborough

David Attenborough at Charleston Festival 2018, EFG Keynes Awards

In the spirit of John Maynard Keynes’ work, life and legacy, this global prize recognises Sir David Attenborough’s outstanding contribution to society.

From the 1960s as Controller of BBC2 television Sir David Attenborough has brought both nature and the arts to millions. His latest series, Blue Planet II was a cultural event in 2017, achieving the highest viewing figures of any programme that year. Through his broadcasting Attenborough continues to play a vital role in raising awareness of the human impact on the planet, warning against the consequences of climate change and pollution for the natural world and the species that inhabit it.

Attenborough delivered the annual Charleston-EFG John Maynard Keynes Lecture at Charleston Festival on Monday 21 May. With a nod to the artistic heritage of Charleston, Beauty and the Beasts sees him make use of new video evidence to answer the divisive question of whether some animals can justifiably be described as artists.

“David Attenborough’s exceptional gift of communication has made it easy for us all to share his deep understanding of the natural world. He has been our trusted guide and teacher in the air, under the sea, in desert, tundra and jungle with humour, colour, imagination and good science. If our grandchildren inherit a sustainable planet he will deserve their gratitude.”  (Dame Liz Forgan, chair of the advisory panel)

“We are delighted that Sir David Attenborough has been chosen as the recipient of the Charleston EFG John Maynard Keynes Prize. Throughout a long and illustrious career, Sir David has followed and shared his passion for the planet. He continues to bring a huge amount of can-do energy to his role. The breadth of his expertise and the depth of his influence are very much in the spirit of Keynes’s life and legacy.” (Anthony Cooke-Yarborough, CEO EFG Private Bank)

“I am greatly honoured that the Charleston Festival has awarded me its Charleston-EFG John Maynard Keynes Prize. Please give my grateful thanks to those who made the decision.” (The winner, Sir David Attenborough).

2017 Winner : Stephen Hawking


Professor Stephen Hawking is a theoretical cosmologist who holds the Stephen W.Hawking chair of cosmology at Cambridge University. Currently the Dennis Stanton Avery and Sally Tsui Wong-Avery Director of Research at Cambridge, he was previously the long-serving Lucasian Professor of Mathematics at Cambridge, the same post held by Sir Isaac Newton. John Maynard Keynes was an admirer of Newton and possessed a major collection of his writing. Hawking’s scientific work has centred on black holes and the origins of the universe.

A prolific commentator on important public, cultural and scientific issues, Professor Hawking has used his high profile to highlight the dangers faced by the human race, including global warming, overpopulation, caution over AI and the risks to UK science in leaving the European Union.

The Prize which was accepted on his behalf by his daughter Lucy Hawking, and friend, Professor Kip Thorne (pictured below) at the Charleston Festival in May.

Kip Thorne and Lucky Hawking

2016 Winner : Tim Berners-Lee

Tim Berners Lee at Charleston

Sir Tim Berners-Lee is the inventor of the Web. A graduate of Oxford University, Sir Tim invented the Web in 1989. In 2001 he became a Fellow of the Royal Society. In 2004 he was knighted by H.M. Queen Elizabeth and in 2007 he was awarded the Order of Merit. He is the Founder and Director of the World Wide Consortium (W3C) and the World Wide Web Foundation. He is President of the Open Data Institute in London and is a Professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Sir Tim is a long time defender of Net Neutrality and the openness of the Web.

Read about the painting that Sir Tim commissioned as part of his prize.

2015 Winner : Amartya Sen

Amartya Sen at Charleston

Regarded as one of the world’s foremost thinkers in the field of famine, poverty, social choice and welfare economics, Amartya Sen’s ground-breaking work has not only been academically influential, but has also had a profound impact on the formation of development policy worldwide. Currently a Professor of Economics and Philosophy at Harvard University, Sen has been a Professor at the London School of Economics and until 2004 was Master of Trinity College, Cambridge. His books have been translated into more than thirty languages.


What's on

02 Feb
Sunday Reading Group - Bloomsbury & Politics

Our monthly Reading Group Sundays run from 10.30am-12.30pm, and are held in our beautiful Hay Barn. More

08 FebTalk
Bloomsbury’s Hidden Neighbours

Jane Traies uncovers a lesbian love triangle in rural Sussex. Part of OUTing the Past festival.

20 AprWorkshop
Jewellery making with Laila Smith

Create a beautiful solid silver pendant inspired by the Charleston house and gardens.

21 AprCourse
History of Art: Module 1, 1880-1940

Introductory course. Explore some of the 20th century’s most intriguing artists and movements.

Get involved