The J. Anthony Lukas Prize Project Awards | Columbia Journalism School

The J. Anthony Lukas Prize Project Awards

Established in 1998, the J. Anthony Lukas Prize Project Awards recognize excellence in nonfiction that exemplifies 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. Four awards are given: two J. Anthony Lukas Work-In-Progress Awards, the J. Anthony Lukas Book Prize and the Mark Lynton History Prize.


2020 Winners

Together with the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard University, we are thrilled to announce the winners and finalists of the 2020 Lukas Prizes for excellence in nonfiction writing: 
J. Anthony Lukas Work-in-Progress Awards
• Winner: Bartow J. Elmore, "Seed Money"
• Winner: Shahan Mufti, "American Caliph"
J. Anthony Lukas Book Prize
• Winner: Alex Kotlowitz, "An American Summer"
• Finalist: Emily Bazelon, "Charged"
Mark Lynton History Prize


• Winner: Kerri K. Greenidge, "Black Radical"
• Finalist: Daniel Immerwahr, "How to Hide an Empire"
Read the full announcement and learn more about this year’s groundbreaking honorees here.



J. Anthony Lukas Work-in-Progress Awards

Two J. Anthony Lukas Work-in-Progress Awards, in the amount of $25,000, are given annually to aid in the completion of significant works of nonfiction on topics of American political or social concern. Recognizing that a nonfiction book based on extensive research often overtaxes the resources available to its author, the project envisions the Awards 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.


J. Anthony Lukas Book Prize

The J. Anthony Lukas Book Prize, in the amount of $10,000, is given annually to a book-length work of narrative nonfiction on a topic of American political or social concern that exemplifies the literary grace, commitment to serious research, and original reporting, that characterized the distinguished work of the award's namesake.

Mark Lynton History Prize

The Mark Lynton History Prize, in the amount of $10,000, is awarded to a book-length work of history on any topic that best combines intellectual distinction with felicity of expression. 

Lynton Scholarship Program

The Lynton scholarship program annually provides two research grants of $5,000 apiece to outstanding students in the Book Seminar class at Columbia Journalism School. These grants help support the reporting of narrative non-fiction books in the tradition of J. Anthony Lukas. Since the Lynton scholarships were first awarded in 2005, many of the student recipients have gone on to produce acclaimed books on subjects ranging from the destruction of the Great Lakes to the underworld of pop-music piracy to an early school desegregation case brought by a family of Chinese immigrants.
About J. Anthony Lukas
The winner of two Pulitzer Prizes, the National Book Award, and the National Book Critics Circle Award, J. Anthony Lukas published five epic books, each of which examined a critical fault line in America’s social and political landscape by examining individual lives caught up in the havoc of change.

A former foreign and national correspondent for The New York Times, Lukas tackled the country’s generational conflict in his first book “Don’t Shoot: We Are Your Children”; examined the impact of school desegregation in “Common Ground,” and told a sweeping tale of class conflict at the turn of the century in “Big Trouble,” completed just before his death in 1997.

His other books were “The Barnyard Epithet and Other Obscenities: Notes on the Chicago Conspiracy Trial” and “Nightmare: The Underside of the Nixon Years.”

Prof. Samuel G. Freedman on J. Anthony Lukas in Salon (June 12, 1997)

Robert W. Snyder on Lukas’ “Common Ground” in CJR (Sept./Oct. 2006)

About Mark Lynton

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.

“I was born Max­ Otto Ludwig Loewenstein, in Stuttgart, Germany,” begins Mark Lynton’s autobiography, “Accidental Journey: A Cambridge Internee’s Memoir of World War II,” published in 1995 by The Overlook Press. A student at Cambridge University when WWII began, Lynton provides a witty account of his odyssey from internment at a Canadian detention camp to his return to England and, ultimately, enlistment in the British military, where he served for seven years. Assigned to the Pioneer Corps, Lynton later transferred to the Royal Tank Regiment, attaining the rank of captain. He completed his career with British Intelligence, interrogating German officers.

Born on April 16, 1920, Lynton moved to Berlin two years later when his father was named head of a major German car manufacturer. Raised by a Swiss nanny, Lynton was bilingual in French and German and was educated in Germany, France and England.

Lynton had a long career working for Citroen and was a senior executive at the firm Hunter Douglas in the Netherlands at the time of his death in 1997. His wife, Marion Lynton, and children, Lili and Michael, established the Mark Lynton History Prize as part of the Lukas Prize Project to honor Lynton, who was an avid reader of history. The Lynton family has generously underwritten the Lukas Prize Project since its inception in 1998.

How to Enter

The 2021 Lukas Prizes will open for submissions on Wednesday, September 2, 2020. Please check back then for a link.

Past Winners

See past winners:


Lukas Book Prize

Lynton History Prize

Lukas Work-In-Progress Award

2019 Winners Shane Bauer

American Prison: A Reporter's Undercover Journey into the Business of Punishment

Andrew Delbanco

The War Before the War: Fugitive Slaves and the Struggle for America's Soul from the Revolution to the Civil War

Jeffrey C. Stewart

The New Negro: The Life of Alain Locke

Maurice Chammah

Let the Lord Sort Them: Texas and the Death Penalty's Rise and Fall in America

Steven Dudley

Mara: The Making of the MS13

  Finalists Lauren Hilgers David W. Blight  
  Shortlist Howard Blum

Chris McGreal

Sarah Smarsh

Edith Sheffer

Steven J. Zipperstein

Amelia Pang

Lauren Sandler

Sarah Schulman

  Jurors Dale Russakoff (chair), Nate Blakeslee, Amy Goldstein Elizabeth Taylor (chair), Annette Gordon-Reed, David Greenberg John Duff (chair), MacKenzie Fraser-Bub, Lucas Wittmann
2018 Winners Amy Goldstein

Janesville: An American Story

Stephen Kotkin

Stalin: Waiting for Hitler, 1929-1941

Chris Hamby

Soul Full of Coal Dust: The True Story of An Epic Battle for Justice

Rachel Louise Snyder

No Visible Bruises: What We Don't Know About Domestic Violence Can Kill Us

  Finalists Jessica Bruder Caroline Fraser  
  Shortlist Nate Blakeslee

Lauren Markham

Helen Thorpe

Edward L. Ayers

Jonathan Eig

Frances FitzGerald

Arthur Holland Michel

Katherine E. Standefer

Susan Vinocour

  Jurors William Shinker (chair), David Blum, Dale Russakoff David Maraniss, Ethan Michaeli, Sylvia Nasar, Elizabeth Taylor Barbara Clark (chair), John Duff, Chris Jackson
2017 Winners Gary Younge

Another Day in the Death of America: A Chronicle of Ten Short Lives

Tyler Anbinder

City of Dreams: The 400-Year Epic History of Immigrant New York

Christopher Leonard


  Finalists Zachary Roth Adam Hochschild Helen Thorpe
  Shortlist Arlie Russell Hochschild

Nancy Isenberg

Jane Mayer

Ethan Michaeli

Joan Quigley

David Reid

Marie Mutsuki Mockett

Eyal Press

Richard Steven Street

  Jurors Charlie Conrad (chair), Nina Burleigh, Richard Joyce Sylvia Nasar (chair), Leon Dash, Stacy Schiff John Duff (chair), Martha Levin, Sarah Touborg



Susan Southard

Nagasaki: Life After Nuclear War

Nikolaus Wachsmann

KL: A History of the Nazi Concentration Camps

Steve Luxenberg

Separate: A Story of Race, Ambition and the Battle That Brought Legal Segregation to America



Dale Russakoff

Timothy Snyder

Blaire Briody



Adam Briggle

Kathryn J. Edin & H. Luke Shaefer

Stephen Witt

Sean McMeekin

Jan Jarboe Russell

T.J. Stiles

Sasha Issenberg

Steve Oney

Meredith Wadman



Mark Kurlansky (chair), Charlie Conrad, Jonathan Mahler, Judy Pasternak

William Shinker (chair), Lynne Olson, Sylvia Nasar

John Duff, John Ryden, William Strachan



Jenny Nordberg

The Underground Girls of Kabul: In Search of a Hidden Resistance in Afghanistan

Harold Holzer

Lincoln and the Power of the Press: The War for Public Opinion

Dan Egan

Liquid Desert: Life and Death of the Great Lakes



Joshua Davis

Andrew Roberts

Heather Ann Thompson



Cris Beam, Mark Kurlansky, Tim Weiner

Henry William Brands, David M. Kennedy, William Shinker

Gerald Howard, Betty Prashker, David Sanger



Sheri Fink

Five Days at Memorial: Life and Death in a Storm-Ravaged Hospital

Jill Lepore

Book of Ages: The Life and Opinions of Jane Franklin

Adrienne Berard

When Yellow Was Black: The untold story of the first fight for desegregation in Southern schools



Jonathan M. Katz

Christopher Clark

Yochi J. Dreazen



Frances Negròn-Muntaner, Carlin Romano, Tim Weiner

Helen L. Horowitz, Richard Snow, Geoffrey C. Ward

Gerald Howard, Betty Prashker, David Sanger



Andrew Solomon

Far from the Tree: Parents, Children, and the Search for Identity

Robert Caro

The Passage of Power: The Years of Lyndon Johnson

Beth Macy

Factory Man



Cynthia Carr

David Nasaw

Jim Robbins



William Strachan, Tim Weiner, Ben Yagoda

Ellen Fitzpatrick, CS Manegold, Sylvia Nasar

Shaye Areheart, Gene Foreman, Bob Giles



Daniel J. Sharfstein

The Invisible Line: Three American Families and the Secret Journey from Black to White

Sophia Rosenfeld

Common Sense: A Political History

Jonathan M. Katz

The Big Truck That Went By: How the World Came to Save Haiti and Left Behind a Disaster



Manning Marable

Michael Willrich &

Craig Harline

Susan Southard



Jeffrey Cowie, Jeffrey A. Frank, Steven Mihm, Isabel Wilkerson

Peter Galison, Samuel Moyn, Sylvia Nasar

Shaye Areheart, Dotty Brown, Susan McHenry, Mirta Ojito



Eliza Griswold

The Tenth Parallel: Dispatches from the Fault Line Between Christianity and Islam

Isabel Wilkerson

The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration

Alex Tizon

Big Little Man: The Asian Male at the Dawn of the Asian Century



Jefferson Cowie, Paul Greenberg, Siddartha Mukherjee

Patrick Wilcken

Joe Mozingo, Florence Williams



Katherine Bouton, E.J. Dionne, David Finkel

Jane Kamensky, Suzanne Marchand, Matthew Stewart

Cecilia Balli, Donald Katz, Carlin Romano



David Finkel

The Good Soldiers

James Davidson

The Greeks and Greek Love: A Bold New Exploration of the Ancient World

Jonathan Schuppe

Ghetto Ball: A Coach, His Team, and the Struggle of an American City



Patrick Radden Keefe, Beryl Satter

Jenny Uglow

David Philipps



Edward Alden, Ellen Goodman, Daniel Okrent

Timothy Brook, Andrew Meier, Laura Shapiro

Leslie Garis, Robin Marantz Henig, Craig Unger



Jane Mayer

The Dark Side: The Inside Story of How the War on Terror Turned Into a War on American Ideals

Timothy Brook

Vermeer’s Hat: The Seventeenth Century and the Dawn of the Global World

Judy Pasternak

Yellow Dirt: The Betrayal of the Navajos



Edward Alden, Masha Gessen

Annette Gordon-Reed, Joe Jackson, William I. Hitchcock



David Michaelis, Patricia O’Toole, Walter Shapiro

Richard Bernstein, Maya Jasanoff, Patrick Keefe

Michelle Goldberg, Janet Silver, Robert Whitaker



Jeffrey Toobin

The Nine: Inside the Secret World of the Supreme Court

Peter Silver

Our Savage Neighbors: How Indian War Transformed Early America

Michelle Goldberg

The Means of Reproduction



Alan Weisman

Ramachandra Guha, Saul Friedlander

Lyanda Lynn Haupt, Cecilia Balli



Connie Bruck, Patricia Nelson Limerick, Jonathan Weiner

Fred Anderson, Caroline Elkins, Jane Kramer

Kennedy Fraser, Samuel G. Freedman, Suzannah Lessard



Lawrence Wright

The Looming Tower: Al Quaeda and the Road to 9/11

James T. Campbell

Middle Passages: African American Journeys to Africa, 1787-2005

Robert Whitaker

Twelve Condemned to Die: Scipio Africanus Jones and The Struggle for Justice That Remade a Nation



Taylor Branch, Michael Isikoff &

David Corn, Melissa Faye Greene

Marci Shore, Peniel E. Joseph

Michael Punke



Kai Bird, Nate Blakeslee, Patricia Bosworth

Akira Iriye, Michael Johnson, Bonnie G. Smith

Francis X. Clines, Elinor Langer, Joan Quigley



Nate Blakeslee

Tulia: Race, Cocaine, and Corruption in a Small Texas Town

Megan Marshall

The Peabody Sisters: Three Women who Ignited American Romanticism

Laura Claridge

Emily Post and the Rise of Practical Feminism



Kurt Eichenwald, Kai Bird & Martin Sherwin

Tony Judt

Bruce Barcott, Dudley Clendinen



Joe Conason, John Darnton, Elizabeth Kolbert

Robert Harms, Louis Masur, Natalie Zemon Davis

Susan Braudy, Kevin Coyne, Richard Pollak



Evan Wright

Generation Kill: Devil Dogs, Iceman, Captain America, and the New Face of American War

Richard Steven Street

Beasts of the Field: A Narrative History of California Farmworkers, 1769-1913

Joan Quigley

Home Fires



Jason DeParle

Melvin Patrick Ely

Amy Bach, Steven Greenhouse



Tom Edsall, David Maraniss, Elizabeth Rubin

John Demos, Carla Hesse, Paul Robinson

Mark Danner, Thomas Geoghegan, Samantha Power



David Maraniss

They Marched into Sunlight: War and Peace, Vietnam and America, October 1967

Rebecca Solnit

River of Shadows: Eadweard Muybridge and the Technological Wild West

John Bowe

Slavery Inc.



Steve Oney, Franklin Toker

Anne Applebaum, Steven Hahn

Eyal Press, Beryl Satter



James Fallows, Christopher Lehmann-Haupt, Sylvia Nasar

Edward Berenson, Adam Hochschild, Christine Stansell

Madeleine Blais, James Tobin, Alec Wilkinson



Samantha Power

Problem from Hell: America and the Age of Genocide

Robert Harms

The Diligent: A Voyage Through the Worlds of the Slave Trade

Suzannah Lessard

Mapping the New World: An Inquiry into the Meaning of Sprawl




Bruce D. Butterfield

Orlando Figes, Steven Stoll



Diane McWhorter, David Nasaw, Richard Reeves

David A. Bell, Michael Kazin, Roy Rosenzweig

Katherine Boo, Nicholas Dawidoff, David M. Kennedy



Diane McWhorter

Carry Me Home: Birmingham, Alabama, The Climactic Battle of the Civil Rights Revolution

Mark Roseman

A Past in Hiding: Memory and Survival in Nazi Germany

Jacques Leslie

On Dams




David Kertzer, James Secord

Harry Bruinius, Richard Steven Street



Susan Faludi, William Finnegan, George Packer

Nancy Cott, Thomas Laqueur, David Rothman

Ted Conover, Jonathan Harr, Sara Mosle



David Nasaw

The Chief: The Life of William Randolph Hearst

Fred Anderson

Crucible of War: The Seven Years’ War and the Fate of Empire in British North America, 1754-1766

Max Holland

A Need to Know: Inside the Warren Commission



Kurt Eichenwald, Ted Gup

William Duiker

Elinor Langer



Alex Kotlowitz, Jane Mayer, Isabel Wilkerson

Eric Foner, David Kertzer, Karen Ordahl Kupperman

Nancy Hicks Maynard, Thomas Powers, Rebecca Sinkler



Witold Rybczynski

A Clearing in the Distance: Frederick Law Olmsted and America in the Nineteenth Century

John W. Dower

Embracing Defeat: Japan in the Wake of World War II

James Tobin

Work of the Wind: A Remarkable Family, an Overlooked Genius, and the Race for Flight




Larry Tye, Laura Bridgman



A. Scott Berg, Frances FitzGerald, Henry Mayer

Pauline Maier, Theodore Rabb, Geoffrey Ward

Justin Kaplan, David Laventhol, Susan Sheehan



Henry Mayer

All on Fire: William Lloyd Garrison and the Abolition of Slavery

Adam Hochschild

King Leopold’s Ghost: A Story of Greed, Terror, and Heroism in Colonial Africa

Kevin Coyne

The Best Years of Their Lives: One Town’s Veterans and How They Changed the World



David Burnham, Melissa Fay Greene, Jonathan Yardley

David Levering Lewis, Patricia Nelson Limerick, Richard Snow

Samuel G. Freedman, Cynthia Gorney, Tracy Kidde



Jonathan Alter, Author and senior editor, is chair of the J. Anthony Lukas Prize Project Committee.

Shaye Areheart, Director of the Columbia Publishing Course, Columbia Journalism School

Colin Diver, Former president, Reed College

Samuel G. Freedman, Professor, Columbia Journalism School

Linda Healey, Editor and Mr. Lukas’s widow

Don Katz, Founder and CEO of Audible, Inc.

Nicholas Lemann, Joseph Pulitzer II and Edith Pulitzer Moore Professor of Journalism; dean emeritus, Columbia Journalism School

Ann Marie Lipinski, Curator, the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard University

Lili Lynton, Daughter of the late Mark Lynton and owner of Dinex Corp

Pamela Paul, Editor, The New York Times Book Review

Abi Wright, Executive director of prizes, Columbia Journalism School



Sign up for the Columbia Journalism Awards quarterly newsletter to receive information on prize open and close dates, entry requirements, and prizewinners. Our newsletter is the best way to stay in the know on all things related to the journalism awards at Columbia University.