The 2023 Zócalo Book Prize Honors Explorations of Community

We’re Looking for the Best Nonfiction Books on Human Connection

The 2023 Zócalo Book Prize Honors Explorations of Community | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

Illustration by Zócalo/Nick Yang.

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. 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.

Our mission is to connect people to ideas and to each other, which is why we have honored authors who explore these themes for over a dozen years now. Whether it’s a public health emergency or a political crisis, current events continue to make our mission feel increasingly urgent.

Because community is such a vast field of inquiry that can be explored in myriad ways, we accept submissions on a broad array of topics and themes from many disciplines of investigation. The 12 previous Zócalo Public Square Book Prize recipients come from a wide range of backgrounds, experiences, and scholarship. They are historians and journalists, economists 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 2023 Zócalo Book Prize selection committee consists of La Plaza de Cultura y Artes chief executive officer Leticia Rhi Buckley, Texas Tribune editor in chief Sewell Chan, former California governor Gray Davis, The Sum of Us author and 2022 Zócalo Book Prize winner Heather McGhee, Goldhirsh Foundation president Tara Roth, USC professor of American studies & ethnicity and history George J. Sanchez, and Zócalo trustee and Boeing engineer Reza Zaidi.

The author of the winning book will receive $10,000 and speak at a public program, including an award ceremony, where they will deliver a lecture based on their work, and participate in an interview, in Los Angeles in spring 2023. We will also recognize the authors of the books we select for our short list. For more information about the prize, please contact us at

The deadline to submit this year is October 28, 2022 at 11:59 PM PDT. Books must have been published in the U.S. between January 1, 2022 and December 31, 2022 to be eligible. 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
Suite 100
Los Angeles, CA 90015

Our past winners are:

Heather McGhee for The Sum of Us: What Racism Costs Everyone and How We Can Prosper Together (One World)
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)


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