Since 2011, Zócalo Public Square’s annual book prize has recognized the U.S.-published nonfiction book that best enhances our understanding of community and the forces that strengthen or undermine human connectedness and social cohesion.
Our mission is to connect people to ideas and to each other, which is why we have chosen to honor authors who explore these themes for over a decade. In 2022, as we rediscover and reinvigorate public spaces after many months of isolation, we look forward to learning from some of the top thinkers from around the world, and to bringing our winner and audience together at a live event that will be convened both online and in-person. Zócalo is grateful to screenwriter and philanthropist Tim Disney for his continuing sponsorship of our literary prize program, which also includes the Zócalo Poetry Prize.
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. The 11 previous Zócalo Public Square Book Prize recipients come from a wide range of backgrounds, experiences, and scholarship. They range from historians and journalists to political scientists and philosophers. Previous winners have studied a single location (whether that’s Hattiesburg, Mississippi, during the Jim Crow era or an Eastern European border town in the centuries leading up to the Holocaust) as well as phenomena including cooperation, technology, and morality.
As with everything else Zócalo features, we are on the lookout for that rare combination of brilliance and clarity, excellence and accessibility.
The author of the winning book will receive $10,000 and speak at a public program, including an award ceremony, lecture, and interview, in Los Angeles in spring 2022. We will also be announcing and honoring the authors of books on our short list. For more information about the prize, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The deadline to submit this year is October 29, 2021. Please send a single copy of any books nominated for the prize, along with a submission letter containing publisher or author contact information and publication date, to:
Zócalo Public Square
c/o Book Prize Committee
1111 South Broadway
Los Angeles, CA 90015
Our past winners are:
• Jia Lynn Yang for One Mighty and Irresistible Tide: The Epic Struggle Over American Immigration, 1924-1965 (W. W. Norton & Company)
• William Sturkey for Hattiesburg: An American City in Black and White (Belknap/Harvard University Press)
• Omer Bartov for Anatomy of a Genocide: The Life and Death of a Town Called Buczacz (Simon & Schuster)
• Michael Ignatieff for The Ordinary Virtues: Moral Order in a Divided World (Harvard University Press)
• Mitchell Duneier for Ghetto: The Invention of a Place, the History of an Idea (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)
• Sherry Turkle for Reclaiming Conversation: The Power of Talk in a Digital Age (Penguin Press)
• Danielle Allen for Our Declaration: A Reading of the Declaration of Independence in Defense of Equality (Liveright Publishing)
• Ethan Zuckerman for Rewire: Digital Cosmopolitans in the Age of Connection (W. W. Norton & Company)
• Jonathan Haidt for The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion (Pantheon)
• Richard Sennett for Together: The Rituals, Pleasures and Politics of Cooperation (Yale University Press)
• Peter Lovenheim for In the Neighborhood: The Search for Community on an American Street, One Sleepover at a Time (Perigee Books)