I just learned of these prizes, which were announced at the end of March. Note especially the unusual "work-in-progress" prize, which provides significant support for completing a book project. Here's the announcement from Columbia University: The recipients of the 2007 J. Anthony Lukas Prize Project Awards include a stunning account of the events leading up to the destruction of the World Trade Center by Lawrence Wright; a moving chronicle of the search for a homecoming by Americans of African descent, by James T. Campbell; and a harrowing exploration of Hoop Spur, Arkansas in 1919, when white mobs and federal troops converged to suppress a nascent sharecroppers union, by Robert Whitaker. The prizes, established in 1998 and co-administered by the Neiman Foundation at Harvard University, recognize excellence in nonfiction writing, works that exemplify the literary grace, commitment to serious research and social concern that characterized the distinguished work of the awards’ Pulitzer Prize-winning namesake J. Anthony Lukas, who died in 1997.
This year's awards go to:
J. ANTHONY LUKAS BOOK PRIZE ($10,000):
Lawrence Wright for The Looming Tower: Al Quaeda and the Road to 9/11 (Alfred A. Knopf)
The judges named three finalists: Taylor Branch for At Canaan’s Edge: America in the King Years, 1965-1968 (Simon and Schuster); Michael Isikoff and David Corn for Hubris: The Inside Story of Spin, Scandal, and the Selling of the Iraq War (Crown); and Melissa Faye Greene for There is No Me Without You: One Woman’s Odyssey to Rescue Africa’s Children (Bloomsbury USA).
MARK LYNTON HISTORY PRIZE ($10,000):
James T. Campbell for Middle Passages: African American Journeys to Africa, 1787-2005 (The Penguin Press)
Two finalists were named: Marci Shore for Caviar and Ashes (Yale University Press); and Peniel E. Joseph for Waiting ‘Til the Midnight Hour (Henry Holt and Company).
J. ANTHONY LUKAS WORK-IN-PROGRESS AWARD ($30,000):
Robert Whitaker for Twelve Condemned to Die: Scipio Africanus Jones and The Struggle for Justice That Remade a Nation (to be published by Crown).
One finalist for the J. Anthony Lukas Work-in-Progress Award was also named: Michael Punke for Last Stand: George Bird Grinnell, the Battle to Save the Buffalo, and the Birth of the New West (to be published by Smithsonian Books).
For the full announcement, click here.