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The Phi Beta Kappa Society Announces 2013 Book Award Winners


The Phi Beta Kappa Society Announces the Winners of Its 2013 Book Awards.

The three books win $10,000 awards.

October 8, 2013


Contact:  Ronaleen Roha




Washington, D.C.—The Phi Beta Kappa Society has today announced the titles of the three books from among those released in 2012 that have been selected as winners of the Society’s annual book awards, The Christian Gauss Award, The Ralph Waldo Emerson Award and The Phi Beta Kappa Award in Science. Each award carries a $10,000 prize which will be presented to the authors at a gala dinner on December 5, 2013 in Washington, D.C., at The Willard Intercontinental Hotel.

This year’s winners, in the order the awards were established, are:

For The Christian Gauss Award:

Jane Austen’s Cults and Cultures

by Claudia L. Johnson

published by the University of Chicago Press


Claudia L. Johnson is the Murray Professor of English Literature at Princeton University. Her specialty is eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century literature, with an emphasis on the novel. Johnson’s other books include Jane Austen: Women, Politics, and the Novel and Equivocal Beings: Politics, Gender and Sentimentality in the 1790s.  Johnson is a member of Phi Beta Kappa (Oberlin, 1974).

The Christian Gauss Award is offered for books in the field of literary scholarship or criticism. The prize was established in 1950 to honor the late Christian Gauss, the distinguished Princeton University scholar, teacher and dean who also served as President of the Phi Beta Kappa Society. Other previous award winners have included books written by eminent authors such as Harold Bloom, Christopher Benfey, and Marjorie Garber.





For The Phi Beta Kappa Award in Science:


The Signal and the Noise: Why So Many Predictions Fail—But Some Don’t

by Nate Silver

published by Penguin



Nate Silver is an American statistician and writer who founded and is currently Editor-in-Chief of ESPN’s FiveThirtyEight.com political blog and a Special Correspondent for ABC.

Since 1959, The Phi Beta Kappa Award in Science has recognized outstanding contributions by scientists to the literature of science. The intent of the award is to encourage literate and scholarly interpretations of the physical and biological sciences and mathematics. Other previous award winners have included books written by notable scientists such as James Gleick, Brian Greene, and Stephen Jay Gould.






For The Ralph Waldo Emerson Award:


Short Nights of the Shadow Catcher: The Epic Life and Immortal Photographs of Edward Curtis

by Timothy Egan

published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt


Timothy Egan is a Pulitzer Prize-winning writer for The New York Times and the author of seven books including The Big Burn: Teddy Roosevelt and the Fire That Saved America and Lasso the Wind: Away to the New West. In 2006 he won the National Book Award for The Worst Hard Time: The Untold Story of Those Who Survived the Great American Dust Bowl.


Established in 1960, The Ralph Waldo Emerson Award honors scholarly studies that contribute significantly to interpretations of the intellectual and cultural condition of humanity, including works in the fields of history, philosophy and religion as well as such fields as anthropology and the social sciences. Other previous award winners have included books written by eminent authors such as Timothy Snyder, Jill Lepore, and David Levering Lewis.




About The Phi Beta Kappa Society

The Phi Beta Kappa Society, headquartered in Washington, D.C., and founded on December 5, 1776 in Williamsburg, Va., is the oldest and most widely known academic honor society in the United States. It has more than 500,000 living members across all walks of life, including seven of the nine current Justices on The Supreme Court of the United States, former President Bill Clinton, former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, football great Peyton Manning, and actress Glenn Close.



To learn more about The Phi Beta Kappa Book Awards, please contact


Ronaleen Roha

Associate Secretary

The Phi Beta Kappa Society

1606 New Hampshire Avenue, NW

Washington, DC  20009

Office:  (202) 745-3246




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