The Phi Beta Kappa Book Awards are given annually to three outstanding scholarly books published in the United States. 2019’s winners are Imani Perry for Looking for Lorraine: the Radiant and Radical Life of Lorraine Hansberry; Adam Frank, for Light of the Stars: Alien Worlds and the Fate of the Earth; and Sarah Igo for The Known Citizen: A History of Privacy in Modern America. They revealed their thinking behind the works we celebrated and shared stories of unmatched discovery, spoke of love beyond adversity, and fueled our collective imagination with examples of unbound human curiosity.


About Key Conversations

Key Conversations with Phi Beta Kappa is a podcast featuring in-depth conversations between Fred Lawrence, Secretary/CEO of Phi Beta Kappa, and Phi Beta Kappa Visiting Scholars. With a new episode released monthly, each podcast invites listeners to take a seat at the table to learn more about the featured Scholar's background, research, and how they have taken their respective paths to where they are now, and where they are headed. 

Since 1956, the Phi Beta Kappa Visiting Scholar Program has been offering undergraduates the opportunity to spend time with some of America's most distinguished scholars. The purpose of the program is to contribute to the intellectual life of the campus by making possible an exchange of ideas between the Visiting Scholars and the resident faculty and students.​

2019 ΦBK Book Awards Dinner podcast conversation

2019 ΦBK Book Award Winners 

Imani Perry is the Hughes-Rogers Professor of African-American Studies at Princeton University, where she also serves as faculty associate in the Program in Law and Public Affairs and Gender and Sexuality Studies. Her work often focuses on the intersections of race and other multifaceted issues, such as law, literature, and music. Perry is the author of numerous books, among them More Beautiful, More TerribleThe Embrace and Transcendence of Racial Inequality in the United StatesProphets of the Hood: Politics and Poetics in Hip Hop, and May We Forever Stand: A History of the Black National Anthem. Read our Key Reporter interview with Imani Perry here
Enamored with astronomy since just five years old, Adam Frank has turned his love for the celestial into a glowing career as a scientist, educator, and author. Frank is co-founder of the 13.7: Cosmos and Culture blog for NPR and a regular contributor to All Things ConsideredThe AtlanticThe New York Times, and The Washington Post, among others. In addition to Light of the Stars, Frank has written two other books: The Constant Fire: Beyond the Religion and Science Debate and About Time: Cosmology and Culture at the Twilight of the Big Bang. Read our Key Reporter interview with Adam Frank here
Sarah E. Igo is the Andrew Jackson Professor of History and Director of the Program in American Studies at Vanderbilt University, as well as the inaugural Faculty Director of E. Bronson Ingram College. Currently a fellow of the Center for Democracy and Technology, Igo’s previous fellowships include ones from the Institute for Advanced Study, the Mellon Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Humanities. She has received several awards throughout her distinguished career, including for her first book, The Averaged American: Surveys, Citizens, and the Making of a Mass Public. Read our Key Reporter interview with Sarah Igo here

Our Host

Our Host

Frederick M. Lawrence is the 10th Secretary and CEO of the Phi Beta Kappa Society. An accomplished scholar, teacher and attorney, he is one of the nation’s leading experts on civil rights, free expression, and bias crimes. Learn More.

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