Nieman News

New York, March 30, 2011 – The recipients of the 2011 J. Anthony Lukas Prize Project Awards for exceptional nonfiction include authors Eliza Griswold, Isabel Wilkerson and Alex Tizon.

The awards will be presented to the winners and distinguished finalists at an evening ceremony on Tuesday, May 3, at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism in New York. The Journalism School and the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard co-administer the awards.

The following are the winners and finalists for each prize and the judges’ citations:

  • J. ANTHONY LUKAS BOOK PRIZE ($10, 000):Eliza Griswold for The Tenth Parallel: Dispatches from the Fault Line Between Christianity and Islam (Farrar, Straus & Giroux)The judges noted: “Griswold examines the conflict between Christianity and Islam along the geographical line where the two beliefs collide. More than half the world’s Muslims live along this line, as do 60 percent of the world’s Christians”. . . a brilliantly original construct for examining one of the most important — perhaps the most important — conflicts in the world today.”

    Three finalists were recognized: Jefferson Cowie for Stayin’ Alive: The 1970s and the Last Days of the Working Class (New Press); Paul Greenberg for Four Fish: The Future of the Last Wild Food (Penguin Press);Siddartha Mukherjee for The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer (Scribner).

  • MARK LYNTON HISTORY PRIZE ($10,000):Isabel Wilkerson for The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration (Random House)The judges stated: “Wilkerson has created a brilliant and innovative paradox: the intimate epic. At its smallest scale, this towering work rests on a trio of unforgettable biographies, lives as humble as they were heroic… In different decades and for different reasons they headed north and west, along with millions of fellow travelers. . . In powerful, lyrical prose that combines the historian’s rigor with the novelist’s empathy, Wilkerson’s book changes our understanding of the Great Migration and indeed of the modern United States.”

    The judges named one finalist, Patrick Wilcken for Claude Levi-Strauss: The Poet in His Laboratory (Penguin Press).

    Judges for the Mark Lynton History Prize were Jane Kamensky, Suzanne Marchand and Matthew Stewart.

  • J. ANTHONY LUKAS WORK-IN-PROGRESS AWARD ($30,000):Alex Tizon for Big Little Man: The Asian Male at the Dawn of the Asian Century (to be published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)This award is given to aid the completion of a significant work of nonfiction by helping to close the gap between the time and money the author has and what is required to finish the book.

    The judges observed: “Big Little Man will become a book that clearly transcends its deep investigative character in both the complexity of its analysis and the lyricism of its storytelling… The project takes readers on a personal journey of self-discovery that is also a deep exploration of what it has meant to be a man of Asian descent in the Western world from the earliest days of Asian migration.”

    Two finalists were recognized: Joe Mozingo for The Fiddler on Pantico Run (to be published by Simon and Schuster); and Florence Williams for Breasts: A Natural and Unnatural History (to be published by W.W. Norton).

    Judges for the J. Anthony Lukas Work-in-Progress Award were Cecilia Balli, Donald Katz and Carlin Romano.

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.

About the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard

The Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard administers the oldest midcareer fellowship program for journalists in the world. Grants are awarded annually to working journalists of accomplishment and promise who travel to Harvard University for a year of study, seminars and special events. Since 1938, more than 1,300 journalists from 90 countries have received Nieman Fellowships. The foundation’s other programs include Nieman Reports, an influential quarterly written by and for journalists that examines journalism’s core challenges and opportunities; Nieman Watchdog, a project that encourages journalists to monitor and hold accountable all those who exert power in public life; Nieman Journalism Lab, an innovative online collaborative that identifies emerging business models and best practices in journalism in the digital media age; and Nieman Storyboard, a website that showcases exceptional narrative journalism in every medium and explores the future of nonfiction storytelling.

About the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism

For almost a century, the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism has been preparing journalists in a program that stresses academic rigor, ethics, journalistic inquiry and professional practice. Founded by Joseph Pulitzer in 1912, the school offers Master of Science, Master of Arts and Doctor of Philosophy degrees. It is also home to numerous journalism prizes, including the Pulitzer Prize, the DuPont Awards and the National Magazine Awards. It also offers a number of professional development programs, including the Punch Sulzberger Program and the Spencer Fellowships for Education Reporting.

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