American Studies Professor wins PEN/Galbraith Award for non-fiction

University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
Posted: Sep 12, 2011

Robert Perkinson
Robert Perkinson
UH Mānoa Associate Professor of American Studies Robert Perkinson has won the John Kenneth Galbraith Award for Nonfiction for his 2010 book, Texas Tough: The Rise of America’s Prison Empire. The award from the PEN American Center honors books of notable literary merit that offer critical perspectives on contemporary issues.
The biennial award carries a cash prize of $10,000 and honors a literary work that “possess the qualities of intellectual rigor, perspicuity of expression, and stylistic elegance conspicuous in the writings of author and economist John Kenneth Galbraith, whose four dozen books and countless other publications continue to provide an important and incisive commentary on the American social, intellectual and political scene.”
Among Perkinson’s competition were noteworthy runners-up: Pulitzer Prize winning historian John W. Dower for his Cultures of War: Pearl Harbor/Hiroshima/9-11/Iraq, and Pulitzer Prize for journalism winner Isabel Wilkerson for The Warmth of Other Suns.
Founded in 1922, the PEN American Center is the U.S. branch of the world’s oldest international literary and human rights organization.
This past July, Perkinson was awarded a research fellowship to participate as a Visiting Fellow at the Harris Manchester College Summer Research Institute at the University of Oxford in England.  Perkinson is among three university faculty members from Hawai‘i who were selected to take part in the week-long independent research program.
In addition to the PEN/Kenneth Galbraith Award, the book also garnered a PASS Award from the National Council on Crime and Delinquency, and a Frederick Jackson Turner Award honorable mention from the Organization of American Historians.