Rutgers English Department News


Leah Price imageThe Phi Beta Kappa Society announced the winners of the Society’s three annual book awards, $10,000 prizes given to outstanding works of non-fiction that engage a wide audience with important ideas in science, history and literature.

What We Talk About When We Talk About When We Talk About Books: The History and Future of Reading by Leah Price, recipient of the Christian Gauss Award. Established in honor of Christian Gauss, an influential teacher, scholar and president of Phi Beta Kappa, the award recognizes outstanding books of literary criticism, including biography. As one member of the Gauss selection panel observed this winning selection offers “a delightful, energizing exploration of the past, present, and future of the book, the structures that create and disseminate it, and the readers and their processes through which they encounter it.”

Leah Price imageAdditional winners were Archaeology From Space: How the Future Shapes Our Past by Sarah Parcak, recipient of the Phi Beta Kappa Award in Science and Policing the Open Road: How Cars Transformed American Freedom by Sarah Seo, recipient of the Ralph Waldo Emerson Award.

This year the Society will celebrate the 66th anniversary of the Phi Beta Kappa Book Awards. Beginning in 1954 with what is now the Christian Gauss Award, every year the Society has lauded the accomplishments of exceptional authors in the United States. The Phi Beta Kappa Award in Science and the Ralph Waldo Emerson Award were added in 1960 and 1961, respectively. For 2020, the Society will honor Leah Price, Sarah Parcak, and Sarah Seo for their winning titles at a virtual event on December 3, 2020.