Created in 2005 by the Dallas Institute of Humanities and Culture, the $50,000 Hiett Prize is a rarity — neither a ‘first book’ trophy nor a lifetime achievement award, it recognizes people who have not yet reached their full potential but who show great promise. This year’s winner is William Deresiewicz, the author of A Jane Austen Education: How Six Novels Taught Me About Love, Friendship, and the Things That Really Matter, as well as two American Scholar essays that went viral: “The Disadvantages of an Elite Education’ and ‘Solitude and Leadership.” He’s written numerous reviews for The New York Times, The New Republic and the London Review of Books and is currently at work on a book tentatively titled Excellent Sheep: Thinking for Yourself, Inventing Your Life, and Other Things the Ivy League Won’t Teach You.
Deresiewicz will receive the award in Dallas at a luncheon on November 21.
The full press release follows:
THE 2013 $50,000 HIETT PRIZE IN THE HUMANITIES IS AWARDED TO WRITER AND CRITIC WILLIAM DERESIEWICZ
DALLAS, AUGUST 20, 2013: The Dallas Institute of Humanities and Culture announced today that William Deresiewicz Ph.D. is the 2013 recipient of the $50,000 Hiett Prize in the Humanities, one of the nation’s most prestigious honors in the humanities. Deresiewicz, considered by many among the leading critics of his generation, will receive the award at a public luncheon on Thursday, November 21, 2013, at the George W. Bush Presidential Center in Dallas, Texas.
The $50,000 Hiett Prize was created by the Dallas Institute in 2005 in collaboration with philanthropist Kim Hiett Jordan to recognize a person who has not yet reached his or her full potential, but whose work in the humanities shows extraordinary promise.
“The Hiett Prize was created to honor men and women with an exceptional commitment to the humanities, and Bill Deresiewicz is without doubt one of these people,” said J. Larry Allums Ph.D., executive director of the Dallas Institute. “Essays such as ‘The Disadvantages of an Elite Education’ and ‘Solitude and Leadership,’ both in The American Scholar, are indicative of the significance of Bill’s work in the humanities. Both went viral and provoked overwhelming responses, having been viewed 950,000 and 650,000 times respectively. It is this capacity for conjuring up such a public response to key cultural issues that makes Bill the perfect recipient for this year’s Hiett Prize. We are absolutely thrilled to pay tribute to his work in this way.”
The purpose of the Hiett Prize is to encourage future leaders in the humanities. It represents the counterpart of lifetime achievement awards by aiming at the discovery of notable talent in the humanities on its way toward full maturity. Deresiewicz is a prolific writer, having authored A Jane Austen Education: How Six Novels Taught Me About Love, Friendship, and the Things That Really Matter (2011) and numerous essays and critical reviews in The New York Times, Slate, The Nation, The New Republic, Bookforum, The Chronicle of Higher Education, and The London Review of Books. Deresiewicz is currently completing a book focused on elite education tentatively titled Excellent Sheep: Thinking for Yourself, Inventing Your Life, and Other Things the Ivy League Won’t Teach You (2014).
The Hiett Prize selection process occurs over several months each year. Applications from across the U.S. are evaluated during two elimination rounds before a winner is determined during a final round. Hiett judges are selected from among Fellows of the Dallas Institute, a distinguished group of scholars, teachers, writers, and public intellectuals in the humanities, arts, and sciences in both the U.S. and abroad.
Previous winners of the Hiett Prize in the Humanities include: Brad Gregory, Notre Dame University (2005); Hilaire Kallendorf, Texas A&M University (2006); Tiya Alicia Miles, University of Michigan (2007); David Greenberg, Rutgers University (2008); James E. McWilliams, Texas State University (2009); Mark Oppenheimer, freelance teacher and writer (2010), Diana Senechal, Columbia Secondary School in New York City (2011), and Elizabeth Samet, professor of English at the United States Military Academy at West Point (2012).
The Hiett Prize luncheon and presentation by William Deresiewicz will take place on Thursday, November 21, 2013 Noon – 1:30 p.m at the George W. Bush Presidential Center. Co-chairs for the event are Marie Brehm and Ann Drumm. Individual luncheon tickets are $150 and table sponsorships start at $1,500. Individual tickets can be purchased online at www.dallasinstitute.org. For more information or to purchase a table, please contact the Dallas Institute at 214.871.2440.
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