The Hitchens Prize will be awarded annually by the Foundation to an author or journalist whose work reflects a commitment to free expression and inquiry, a range and depth of intellect, and a willingness to pursue the truth without regard to personal or professional consequence. The Prize is named in honor of the late Christopher Hitchens, a writer whose career was a rare if not unique expression of those qualities.
Christopher Hitchens defied easy categorization, with interests that spanned the whole landscape of cultural and political topics, and views that crossed conventional fault lines and left him with no firm anchor to the left or right. The Prize, in any event, is not intended, if it were even possible, to identify writers who align closely with Christopher Hitchens, nor to celebrate his views in every particular. Rather, the Prize seeks to advance what he was dedicated to throughout his life: vigorous, honest, and open public debate and discussion, with no tolerance of orthodoxy, no reverence for authority, and a belief in reasoned dialogue as the best path to the truth.
The Prize will be awarded at a ceremony in New York City, at a date to be determined following a decision by the Selection Committee. In line with the Foundation's educational mission, the Prize and award ceremony are intended to draw public attention to the values that marked Christopher Hitchens' career, including freedom of speech and inquiry, and the importance to society of civil, if passionate, discourse and debate. In that spirit, it is anticipated that the Prize winner's lecture will reflect on those values, drawing on their own published work or related topical matters.