The Phi Beta Kappa Society has named Viet Thanh Nguyen as the recipient of its Sidney Hook Memorial Award. Phi Beta Kappa presented the award to Nguyen on August 3rd at the 46th Triennial Council of the Society.
The award, established in 1991 in memory of the distinguished American philosopher and Phi Beta Kappa member Sidney Hook (1902–1989), recognizes national distinction by an individual in each of three endeavors — scholarship, undergraduate teaching, and leadership in the cause of liberal arts education. A grant from the John Dewey Foundation supports the award’s cash prize. Phi Beta Kappa presents the award once every three years.
Viet Thanh Nguyen’s novel The Sympathizer won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and numerous other awards. His most recent publication is the sequel to The Sympathizer, The Committed. His other books are a short story collection, The Refugees; Nothing Ever Dies: Vietnam and the Memory of War (a finalist for the National Book Award in nonfiction and the National Book Critics Circle Award in General Nonfiction); and Race and Resistance: Literature and Politics in Asian America. He has also published Chicken of the Sea, a children’s book written in collaboration with his six-year-old son, Ellison. He is a University Professor, the Aerol Arnold Chair of English, and a Professor of English, American Studies and Ethnicity, and Comparative Literature at the University of Southern California. A recipient of fellowships from the Guggenheim and MacArthur Foundations, he is also a contributing opinion writer for The New York Times and the editor of The Displaced: Refugee Writers on Refugee Lives.
Thanh Nguyen will accept the award and take part in a virtual conversation with Annette Gordon-Reed on August 3 at 7:00 p.m. EST. Registration is free at pbk.org/conversation.