Nieman News


Columbia Journalism School and the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard are pleased to announce the 2017 Shortlist for the J. Anthony Lukas Prize Project Awards – the J. Anthony Lukas Work-in-Progress Award, the J. Anthony Lukas Book Prize and the Mark Lynton History Prize.

The winners and finalists of the 2017 Lukas Prizes will be announced on March 27. The awards will be presented at a ceremony on May 2 at Columbia Journalism School in New York.

J. Anthony Lukas Work-In-Progress Award ($25,000 – Winner $5,000 – Finalist)

The J. Anthony Lukas Work-in-Progress Award is given annually to aid in the completion of a significant work of nonfiction on an American topic of political or social concern. The committee envisions the award as a way of closing the gap between the time and money an author has and the time and money that finishing a book requires.

  1. Christopher Leonard’s KOCHLAND (Simon & Schuster)
    “The story of Koch Industries, one of the largest, most politically charged and most private companies in the United States.”
  2. Marie Mutsuki Mockett’s A KERNEL IN GOD’S EYE: A Memoir of Organics, GMOs and God in the American Heartland (Graywolf Press)
    “An essayistic examination of the culture and place where Mockett’s family has worked their land for 100 years. The farm and the farmers she portrays help complicate our assumptions about the way food is grown and sold in America, and Mockett’s own experience as a biracial and bicultural woman running the farm raises provocative questions about our understanding of religion and whiteness in the culture of the Great Plains.”
  3. Eyal Press’s DIRTY WORK (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)
    “From the corrections industry to the fossil fuel industry to the military’s drone program, the book will tell the stories of workers who do various marginalized jobs that are often criticized but that are necessary for society’s functioning.
  4. Richard Steven Street’s KNIFE FIGHT CITY AND THE KINGDOM OF DUST (University of Oklahoma Press)
    “An exploration of an unacknowledged variety of American apartheid in Huron, the poorest town in California, where an American peasantry slaves for industrialized agriculture.”
  5. Helen Thorpe’s THE NEWCOMERS (Scribner)
    “A celebration of the heroic work done inside of an English Language Acquisition classroom by a dedicated teacher named Eddie Williams. The room mirrors the global refugee crisis, and every country that produces large numbers of refugees is represented in the room.”

2017 J. Anthony Lukas Work-In-Progress Award Judges:

  • John Duff (chair)
  • Martha Levin
  • Sarah Touborg

Anthony Lukas Book Prize ($10,000)

The J. Anthony Lukas Book Prize recognizes superb examples of nonfiction writing that exemplify the literary grace, the commitment to serious research, and the social concern that characterized the distinguished work of the award’s namesake, J. Anthony Lukas. Books must be on a topic of American political or social concern published between January 1, 2016, and December 31, 2016.

  1. Arlie Russell Hochschild’s STRANGERS IN THEIR OWN LAND: Anger and Mourning On the American Right (The New Press)
    “In the right-wing world she explores, Hochschild discovers powerful forces—fear of cultural eclipse, economic decline, perceived government betrayal—which override self-interest, as progressives see it, and help explain the emotional appeal of a candidate like Donald Trump.”
  2. Nancy Isenberg’s WHITE TRASH: The 400-Year Untold History of Class in America (Viking)
    “A groundbreaking history of the class system in America, extending from Colonial times to the present, Nancy Isenberg’s analysis draws on sociology, economics, and popular culture to provide a fresh way of thinking about American history.”
  3. Jane Mayer’s DARK MONEY: The Hidden History of the Billionaires Behind the Rise of the Radical Right (Doubleday)
    “An electrifying work of investigative journalism that uncovers the powerful group of immensely wealthy ideologues who are shaping the fate of America.”
  4. Zachary Roth’s THE GREAT SUPPRESSION: Voting Rights, Corporate Cash, and the Conservative Assault on Democracy (Crown)
    “A revelatory account of the conservative movement working to undermine American democracy.”
  5. Gary Younge’s ANOTHER DAY IN THE DEATH OF AMERICA: A Chronicle of Ten Short Lives (Nation Books)
    “This powerful and moving work puts a human face—a child’s face—on the ‘collateral damage’ of gun deaths across the country.”

2017 J. Anthony Lukas Book Prize Judges:

  • Charlie Conrad (chair)
  • Nina Burleigh
  • Richard Joyce

Mark Lynton History Prize ($10,000)

The Mark Lynton History Prize is awarded to the book-length work of narrative history, on any subject, that best combines intellectual distinction with felicity of expression.  Books must have been published between January 1, 2016, and December 31, 2016.

  1. Tyler Anbinder’s CITY OF DREAMS: The 400-Year Epic History of Immigrant New York (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)
    “The story of innovators and artists, revolutionaries and rioters, staggering deprivation and soaring triumphs, all playing out against the powerful backdrop of New York City.”
  2.  Adam Hochschild’s SPAIN IN OUR HEARTS: Americans in the Spanish Civil War, 1936 – 1939 (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)
    “This work weaves together the stories of some dozen foreigners who volunteered to support Spain’s democratic government.”
  3. Ethan Michaeli’s THE DEFENDER: How the Legendary Black Newspaper Changed America (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)
    “A revelatory narrative of race in America that brings to life the reporters who braved lynch mobs and policemen’s clubs to do their jobs, from the age of Teddy Roosevelt to the age of Barack Obama.”
  4. Joan Quigley’s JUST ANOTHER SOUTHERN TOWN: Mary Church Terrell and the Struggle for Racial Justice in the Nation’s Capital (Oxford University Press)
    “Spotlights the critical and seminal role of District of Columbia v. John R. Thompson Co., Inc. and restores to Mary Church Terrell her rightful place in the pantheon of civil rights history.” Columbia Journalism ‘02 Alum.
  5. David Reid’s THE BRAZEN AGE: New York City and the American Empire – Politics, Art and Bohemia (Alfred A. Knopf)
    “A sweeping survey of the culture and politics of New York City between 1945 and 1950, when it was at its zenith.”

2017 Mark Lynton History Prize Judges:

  • Sylvia Nasar (chair)
  • Leon Dash
  • Stacy Schiff
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