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. 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.
J. Anthony Lukas Work-in-Progress Award
The J. Anthony Lukas Work-in-Progress Award, in the amount of $30,000, is 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.
J. Anthony Lukas Book Prize
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 concern that characterized the distinguished work of the award’s namesake. The winner receives $10,000.
Mark Lynton History Prize
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.
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.
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
“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 J. Anthony Lukas Prize Project Committee
Jonathan Alter, author and senior editor, is chair of the J. Anthony Lukas Prize Project Committee. Additonal members are Ellen Chesler, distinguished lecturer and director of the Eleanor Roosevelt Initiative on Women and Public Life at Roosevelt House, Hunter College; Colin Diver, president, Reed College; Arthur Gelb, author; Phyllis Grann, editor; Vartan Gregorian, president, Carnegie Corporation of New York; Linda Healey, editor and Mr. Lukas’ widow; Nicholas Lemann, dean and Henry R. Luce Professor, Columbia Journalism School; Ann Marie Lipinski, curator, the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard University; Marion Lynton, widow of Mark Lynton; Lili Lynton, daughter of the late Mark Lynton and owner of Dinex Corp; Arlene Morgan, associate dean of professional prizes and programs, Columbia Journalism School; and Rosalind Rosenberg, professor of history, Barnard College.
Lisa S. Redd, Associate Director, Lukas Prizes
Columbia University Journalism School
New York, NY 10027