A Decade of Honoring the Finest Thinking on the Oldest of Human Dilemmas

Now in Its 10th Year, the Zócalo Book Prize Seeks Brilliant Nonfiction on What Brings Humans Together and Tears Us Apart

*Photo courtesy of Simon Booth-Lucking/Flickr.

Over the past decade, Zócalo Public Square’s annual book prize has recognized the nonfiction book, published in the U.S., that best enhances our understanding of community and the forces that strengthen or undermine human connectedness and social cohesion.

The first Zócalo Public Square Book Prize was awarded in 2011, and each year since we’ve honored authors who have tackled an eclectic range of topics, from how sleepovers tie neighborhoods together to how a Polish town became the site of genocide. In 2020, our Book Prize turns 10, but the mission of the prize remains the same. We seek to honor the best contemporary thinking on the oldest of human dilemmas: how best to live and work together, whether that be globally, nationally, or locally.

Because community is such a vast subject that can be explored in myriad ways, we accept submissions on a broad array of topics and themes from many fields and disciplines.

As with everything else Zócalo features, we are most on the lookout for that rare combination of brilliance and clarity, excellence and accessibility.

The author of the winning book will receive $5,000 and deliver a lecture at the award ceremony in Los Angeles in May 2020. All inquiries regarding the Tenth Annual Zócalo Public Square Book Prize can be directed to bookprize@zocalopublicsquare.org.

Our past winners are:
Omer Bartov for Anatomy of a Genocide: The Life and Death of a Town Called Buczacz (Simon & Schuster, 2019)
Michael Ignatieff for The Ordinary Virtues: Moral Order in a Divided World (Harvard University Press, 2018)
Mitchell Duneier for Ghetto: The Invention of a Place, the History of an Idea (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2017)
Sherry Turkle for Reclaiming Conversation: The Power of Talk in a Digital Age (Penguin Press, 2016)
Danielle Allen for Our Declaration: A Reading of the Declaration of Independence in Defense of Equality (Liveright Publishing, 2015)
Ethan Zuckerman for Rewire: Digital Cosmopolitans in the Age of Connection (W.W. Norton & Company, 2014)
Jonathan Haidt for The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion (Pantheon, 2013)
Richard Sennett for Together: The Rituals, Pleasures and Politics of Cooperation (Allen Lane, 2012)
Peter Lovenheim for In the Neighborhood: The Search for Community on an American Street, One Sleepover at a Time (Perigee Books, 2011)


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