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J. Anthony Lukas Prize Project

Monday, November 06, 2023 4:33 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

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.

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(link is external) (June 12, 1997)

Robert W. Snyder on Lukas’ “Common Ground” in CJR (link is external)(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.

The Lukas Prize Project is co-administered by the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism and the Nieman Foundation at Harvard University.

See more here.

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