Nieman Foundation Honors Nonfiction Writers

Three winners of this year’s Lukas Prize Project Awards were recognized yesterday for their outstanding work in nonfiction writing, the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard and Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism announced yesterday.

David L. Finkel will receive the J. Anthony Lukas Book Prize—named for two-time Pulitzer Prize-winner J. Anthony Lukas ’55—for “The Good Soliders,” a book on a battalion of infantry soldiers in the Iraq war, at a ceremony at the Nieman Foundation on May 4,

The Mark Lynton History Prize will be bestowed upon James N. Davidson for his book “The Greeks and Greek Love: A Bold New Exploration of the Ancient World,” which explores homoeroticism in ancient Greece.

Finkel and Davidson will each receive a $10,000 prize.

Journalist Jonathan Schuppe was named the winner of the J. Anthony Lukas Work-in-Progress Award, which provides a $30,000 award to help the recipient complete a nonfiction project.

Schuppe is working on a nonfiction narrative entitled “Ghetto Ball: A Coach, His Team, and the Struggle of an American City,” which focuses on a Little League baseball team in inner-city Newark coached by a paraplegic former drug dealer.

Schuppe said yesterday that dividing his time between a paying job and the in-person reporting that his book requires has been difficult.

“This award literally buys me several months of intensive reporting and writing,” he said. “Without it, I’m not sure what I would be doing.”

Lukas, the awards’ namesake, served as associate managing editor of The Crimson, and returned to Harvard as a Nieman Fellow in 1969 after winning his first Pulitzer Prize for “The Two Worlds of Linda Fitzpatrick,” an article in The New York Times about the life and death of an affluent teenager involved in the 1960s hippie and drug culture.

In 1986, he earned a second Pulitzer for his book about the racial turmoil surrounding school busing in Boston, entitled “Common Ground: A Turbulent Decade in the Lives of Three American Families.”

After Lukas’s suicide in 1997, his widow Linda Healy and friends created the Lukas Prize Project Awards in his memory.

Finkel said that he was especially gratified to learn that had received the accolade since “[Lukas’] work was really important in the kind of reporter I’ve become.”

While working as a reporter in distant locales such as Yemen and Iraq, Finkel said he always carried a few books with him, one of which was “Common Ground.”

The prizes are funded by the family of writer Mark Lynton, who also passed away in 1997.

—Staff writer Julie M. Zauzmer can be reached at jzauzmer@college.harvard.edu.

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