Columbia Journalism School and the Nieman Foundation for Journalism have named the 2012 winners of the Lukas Prize Project Awards.
A Vanderbilt University professor has won the 2012 J. Anthony Lukas Book Prize for his sensitive account of the fine line people of mixed race have tread in the United States since the nation’s beginning. The Mark Lynton History Prize will go to a University of Virginia professor for her unusual and groundbreaking work on the history of common sense. The J. Anthony Lukas Work-in-Progress Award was won by a former A.P. reporter and editor who is completing a book on the world’s inability to help Haiti.
The judges said of The Invisible Line: Three American Families and the Secret Journey from Black to White (Viking Press) by Daniel J. Sharfstein, an associate professor of law at Vanderbilt University: “The book makes real the fact that, not so long ago, American citizens were forced into hiding their lineage and identity just to live free in this democracy, the perils and sense of loss, no matter which road they chose, and the price being paid even to this day by their descendents, and by extension, all of us.” The winner of the J. Anthony Lukas Book Prize receives $10,000. One finalist was named: the late Manning Marable for Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention (Viking Press).
Sophia Rosenfeld’s Common Sense: A Political History (Harvard University Press) is an “…extraordinary, wide-ranging, and original work that takes on the unexpected topic of common sense (what everyone knows), gives it a history, and shows how central it is for the evolution of our modern understanding of politics,” the judges said. Rosenfeld is a professor of history at the University of Virginia. The winner of the Mark Lynton History Prize receives $10,000. The judges named two finalists: Michael Willrich, for Pox: An American History, (Penguin Press), and Craig Harline for Conversions: Two Family Stories from the Reformation and Modern America (Yale University Press).
About the J. Anthony Lukas Prize Project Awards
Established in 1998, the prizes recognize excellence in nonfiction that exemplify the literary grace and commitment to serious research and social concern that characterized the work of the awards’ Pulitzer Prize-winning namesake, J. Anthony Lukas, who died in 1997. One of the three Lukas Prize Project Awards, The Mark Lynton History Prize, is named for the late Mark Lynton, a business executive and author of Accidental Journey: A Cambridge Internee’s Memoir of World War II. Lynton was an avid proponent of the writing of history and the Lynton family has sponsored the Lukas Prize Project since its inception.