Michael Novak Awarded Prestigious Lincoln Literary Award

Lincoln Literary - Award Presentation

Lincoln Literary - Award Presentation


On September 12, 2016, Michael Novak was awarded the prestigious Abraham Lincoln Literary Award by the Union League Club of New York City. The Lincoln Literary award, which was established in 1977 and last bestowed in 2007, is given to “outstanding American authors” – past recipients have included John Updike, Neil Simon, Tom Clancy, Garrison Keillor, Tom Wolfe, Michael Crichton, Stephen E. Ambrose, and James Michener, among many other illustrious writers.

According to the Union League Club's Library Committee, Novak was chosen “in acknowledgement of his vast and important body of work contained in 45 books covering topics of political ideology, philosophy, religion, ethics, economics, sports, history and morality.”

Novak’s whole life has been a story of religious scholarship, social commentary, and intellectual independence. His insights into the spiritual foundations of economic and political systems and his articulation of the moral ideals of democratic capitalism have secured his place as an original thinker of the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries. His reflections on religious, political, and economic issues have been consistently marked by foresight. He has repeatedly staked a lone position that eventually became mainstream thought.

The recipient of numerous awards and honorary degrees, including the highest award bestowed on a foreign citizen by the Presidents of three different nations and the Nobel-Prize equivalent “Templeton Prize for Progress in Religion,” Novak has provided critical and literate debate on issues as diverse as capitalism versus socialism, human rights, faith, labor union history, sports, ethnicity, peace, liberty and justice, the American presidency, families, welfare reform, television, and the role of the churches in a pluralistic world.

“It is an incredible privilege to receive the Lincoln Literary Award,” notes Novak. “I am humbled to join the ranks of so many talented and influential writers. To be celebrated by such a notable organization as the Union League Club, and included in such a distinguished group of men and women, is an honor and a joy.”

For Novak’s full bio, click here

The award was bestowed at a dinner held at the Union League Club of New York City. 

Lincoln Literary Award Dinner

Lincoln Literary Award Dinner

Lincoln Literary Award Book Signing

Lincoln Literary Award Book Signing

The event began with a signing of Novak's latest book, Social Justice Isn't What You Think It Is. The sold-out dinner required extra seats for more than 60 guests, and featured a long banquet style table with Novak at the head. The discussion topics included Lady Margaret Thatcher, President Ronald Reagan, and St. John Paul II (with Novak sharing their wisdom along with personal anecdotes), as well as Radio Free Europe, the Middle East, and the 2016 election. 

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Complete announcement / invitation to the dinner originally published in the Union League Club September 2016 Bulletin: 

The Abraham Lincoln Literary Award Dinner, Honoring Michael Novak on September 12, 2016

The Library Committee is proud to announce our prestigious Lincoln Literary Award will be awarded to Michael Novak, in acknowledgement of his vast and important body of work contained in 45 books covering topics of political ideology, philosophy, religion, ethics, economics, sports, history and morality. He has also published two novels and a book of verse. Professor Novak’s works include The Experience of Nothingness (1970), The Fire of Invention (1999), his most recent Social Justice Isn’t What You Think It Is (2016), as well as The Spirit of Democratic Capitalism (1982), which was translated and distributed by underground presses behind the Iron Curtain in the 1980s, and praised as “one of those rare books that actually changes the way things are.”

Professor Novak has been the recipient of 26 honorary degrees including one from Universidad Francisco Marroquín for his commitment to the idea of liberty. In 1994, he was awarded the Templeton Prize for Progress in Religion at Buckingham Palace. Three presidents of three nations – the Czech Republic, Poland, and Slovakia – have given him the highest award they can bestow on a foreign citizen. Each cited Michael Novak’s work as Ambassador for Human Rights under Ronald Reagan, his eleven years of service on the boards of Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty, and his important writings on democracy, liberty and freedom. Professor Novak considers his greatest honor to be Pope John Paul II publicly mentioning him several times as his friend. Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher also highly praised him and his works.

The Abraham Lincoln Literary Award was first announced in 1977, and the last winner was celebrated in 2007. Michael Novak is the 30th recipient. Please join us in honoring this distinguished “Man of Letters”.

Abraham Lincoln Literary Award Recipients

1977                       Irwin Shaw

1978                       James Michener

1979                       Louis Auchincloss

1980                       John Cheever

1981                       Alistair Cooke

1982                       John Updike

1983                       William Manchester

1984                       Barbara Tuchman

1985                       William F. Buckley Jr.

1986                       Neil Simon

1987                       Tom Clancy

1988                       Brendan Gill

1989                       Garrison Keillor

1990                       Tom Wolfe

1991                       George Plimpton

1992                       Michael Crichton

1993                       David McCullough

1994                       Joyce Carol Oates

1995                       Henry A. Kissinger

1996                       David Herbert Donald

1998                       Stephen E. Ambrose

2000                       Ron Chernow

2001                       P.J. O’Rourke

2002                       William Kennedy

2003                       Thomas Fleming

2004                       George Will

2005                       Peggy Noonan

2006                       James Salter

2007                       Mark Bowden

2016                       Michael Novak