Michael Novak '56 Awarded Abraham Lincoln Literary Award

September 29, 2016

Michael Novak '56

Alumnus and former Stonehill trustee Michael Novak was recently 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.

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,” according to the Union League Club’s Library Committee.

Stonehill Ties
Novak graduated from Stonehill in 1956 and received an honorary Doctor of Humanities degree from his alma mater in 1977. In recognition of his achievements in the fields of philosophy and journalism, Novak received the Outstanding Alumnus Award from the College in 1974.

The College is also home to his papers and the Novak Collection includes over 300 linear feet of manuscripts, books, correspondence, newspaper columns, awards and journal articles. His writings are regarded as being central to a fuller understanding of American Catholicism in the second half of the 20th century.

In 1998, on the occasion of the College’s 50th anniversary, Novak was one of 50 members of the Stonehill community to receive a Moreau Medallion in recognition of the important role they played in the life of the College during its first half century. The Novak family has also created two student scholarships – the Father Richard J. Novak, C.S.C. Memorial Scholarship and the Novak-Sakmar-Templeton Merit Scholarship.

On Writing
In a 2009 Stonehill Alumni Magazine profile, the famed author, philosopher and scholar reflected on turning his passion for writing into a career:

“I love to write. To make writing a career, I strongly urge you to begin publishing as soon as you can and wherever you can. The reason is, to write is to err. No published piece goes uncriticized . So, it is good to get used to the criticism early, before higher professional status makes you reluctant to face public reviews,” he said.

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.

Award and Honors
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,” noted 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 more on Novak, who is currently a Visiting Professor in the Business School at the Catholic University of America, visit here.

The award was bestowed at a dinner held at the Union League Club of New York City on September 12, 2016.