The J. Anthony Lukas Prize Project Awards

The 2024 Lukas Prizes Now Open for Submission

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. #LukasPrizes

Read the announcement of the 2023 winners and finalists.

How to Enter

The 2024 Lukas Prizes are open for submission now through Thursday, December 7.

Entry form

ENTRY FORM

Two J. Anthony Lukas Work-in-Progress Awards, in the amount of $25,000, are given annually to aid in the completion of a significant work of nonfiction on a topic of American political or social concern.

Recognizing that a nonfiction book based on extensive original research often overtaxes the resources available to its author, the project 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.

Applicants for the award must already have a contract with a U.S.-based publisher to write a nonfiction book. The judges will make their decision on the basis of achieving maximum impact on a promising book project. Therefore, their selection criteria will represent a blend of the merit of the book and the financial need of the author. For this reason, the judges will need to know the amount of the author’s advance, as well as any other financial support for the book, such as a grant.

Materials required for entry:

  • Completed entry form
  • A copy of the original book proposal
  • 50-75 pages from the work-in-progress
  • Photocopy of a contract with a publisher
  • An explanation of how the award will advance the progress of the book

No entry fee is required for this prize.

ENTRY FORM - CREDIT CARD PAYMENT  |  ENTRY FORM - CHECK PAYMENT

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. 

Books must have been published in the United States between January 1, 2023, and December 31, 2023. Anyone, including the author, may submit a book. Entry fees are non­-refundable.

Authors and publishers are encouraged to enter a book for either the Lukas Book Prize or the Lynton History Prize, not both. Books entered for both prizes will only be considered for one, at the discretion of the director.

Materials required for entry:

  • A PDF copy of each book entered
  • A $75 entry fee per book. Payments via credit card are accepted at the time of the online application submission. Checks are also accepted but must be received by January 31, 2024, or the entry will be disqualified. Make checks payable to “The Lukas Prize ­Columbia University Awards.” Fees for multiple entries should be made with one payment.

ENTRY FORM - CREDIT CARD PAYMENT  |  ENTRY FORM CHECK PAYMENT

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. 

Books must have been published in the United States between January 1, 2023, and December 31, 2023. Anyone, including the author, may submit a book. Entry fees are non­-refundable.

Authors and publishers are encouraged to enter a book for either the Lukas Book Prize or the Lynton History Prize, not both. Books entered for both prizes will only be considered for one, at the discretion of the director.

Materials required for entry:

  • A PDF copy of each book entered
  • A $75 entry fee per book. Payments via credit card are accepted at the time of the online submission. Checks are also accepted but must be received by January 31, 2024, or the entry will be disqualified. Make checks payable to “The Lukas Prize ­Columbia University Awards.” Fees for multiple entries should be made with one payment.

About

Two J. Anthony Lukas Work-in-Progress Awards, in the amount of $25,000, are given annually to aid in the completion of a significant works of nonfiction on topics of American political or social concern. Recognizing that a nonfiction book based on extensive original 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.

The J. Anthony Lukas Book Prize 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 social responsibility that characterized the distinguished work of the award’s namesake. The winner receives $10,000.

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

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. 

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)

Lukas began his newspaper career as a student at the Harvard Crimson and later returned to the Harvard campus as a Nieman Fellow in the class of 1969. The Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard co-administers the Lukas Prize Project with Columbia Journalism School. 

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.

Past Winners

Board

Chair

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

Members

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

Antoinette Bush, Executive Vice President and Global Head of Government Affairs for News Corp

Jelani Cobb, Dean, Columbia Journalism School

Samuel G. Freedman, Professor, Columbia Journalism School (on hiatus for the 2023-24 prize cycle)

Annette Gordon-Reed, Carl M. Loeb University Professor at Harvard University

Linda Healey, Editor and Mr. Lukas’s widow

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

Michael Lynton, Son of the late Mark Lynton and chairman of Snap Inc.

Pamela Paul, Columnist, The New York Times

Abi Wright, Executive Director of Prizes, Columbia Journalism School

Contact

212-854-6468
[email protected]

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