Illustration by Nick Yang.
Zócalo Public Square’s annual book prize honors 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 Public Square 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 since 2011. Our annual award ceremony—which includes a lecture, interview, and reception—is a highlight of our year. It simultaneously captures the zeitgeist, honors a brilliant thinker, and allows Zócalo’s audiences to both create and investigate human connection.
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 writers of many disciplines and professions.
As with everything else Zócalo features, we are on the lookout for that rare combination of brilliance and clarity, excellence and accessibility. The 2024 Zócalo Book Prize selection committee consists of 2023 Zócalo Book Prize winner and The Fight to Save the Town author Michelle Wilde Anderson, Human Rights Watch chief communications officer Mei Fong, Marquette University historian Sergio González, creative director and Zócalo Advisory Board member David Lai, infectious disease specialist and professor of medicine Rekha Murthy, MD, Lawrence Welk Family Foundation president Lisa Parker, Smithsonian National Board chair Jorge Puente, MD, and LAXART director and curator Hamza Walker.
The author of the winning book will receive $10,000 and participate in a public program in Los Angeles in spring 2024. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
The deadline to submit is October 20, 2023, at 11:59 PM PDT. Books must have been published in the U.S. between January 1, 2023, and December 31, 2023, 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
Los Angeles, CA 90015
The 13 previous Zócalo Public Square Book Prize recipients come from a wide range of backgrounds, experiences, and scholarship. They have studied specific times and places—from a single street in the suburbs of Rochester, New York, to Jim Crow-era Hattiesburg, Mississippi—as well as phenomena, including cooperation, technology, and morality. They are:
• Michelle Wilde Anderson for The Fight to Save the Town: Reimagining Discarded America (Avid Reader Press/Simon & Schuster)
• 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)