NEW YORK (CNS) — America, the national Catholic weekly magazine run by the Jesuits, and the St. Thomas More Chapel at Yale University, have announced the creation of the George W. Hunt Prize.

The aim is to recognize “the finest literary work of Roman Catholic intelligence and imagination” and the winner will receive $25,000 in prize money.

Judges will consider works in a variety of genres, including journalism, fiction, poetry, drama, music, memoir, biography, history, art criticism and academic scholarship.


The prize is named for the late Jesuit Father George W. Hunt, whose 14-year tenure as editor-in-chief of America, from 1984 to 1998, made him the longest-serving editor in the magazine’s 105-year history. He died Feb. 25, 2011, at age 74.

Nominations will open on Father Hunt’s birthday, Jan. 22, and will close on a date announced by the selection committee. A person may nominate himself or herself. Nominations will be submitted electronically at

The George W. Hunt Prize will be awarded to a single individual in recognition of his or her literary work, the announcement said.

“The recipient’s work should demonstrate those literary qualities that Father Hunt valued most: rigor, order and discipline of thought, as well as honesty, sympathy and optimism,” it said. “The recipient’s creativity, style, prose, and analysis should also demonstrate originality, intelligence, imagination, elegance, and the promise of further achievement.

“The quality of the works is more important than the quantity of works published.”

Father Hunt first joined the America staff as its literary editor; he held the post from 1981 to 1984.

Full details about the prize’s mission, the criteria, including a list of topics, eligibility and the nominations process available at

Members of the committee that will select the winner are: Jesuit Father Matt Malone, editor-in-chief and president of America Media; Angela Alaimo O’Donnell, professor and poet at Fordham University; Kevin Spinale, a Jesuit scholastic, who is the moderator of the Catholic Book Club; Maura Ryan, associate professor of theology at the University of Notre Dame; and Cathleen Kaveny, professor of law and of theology at Boston College.