From 1948 to 1996, a rotating commitee of distinguished Harvard College alumni awarded annual prizes for outstanding contributions to undergraduate publications. “What we’ve established, in effect, is a collegiate Pulitzer Prize,” one member of the prize committee told the Crimson in 1961.
The list of judges for the Dana Reed Prize—named in honor of Dana Reed ’43, a Liberator bomber pilot whose plane went down over northern Italy in November 1944—reads like a who’s who of literary and journalistic luminaries. It included, among many others, Norman Mailer, William Styron, William Zinsser, Richard Wilbur, Anthony Lewis, John Updike, Adrienne Rich, Robert Crichton, Jonathan Schell, Renata Adler, David Halberstam, Roger Angell, Joan Didion, Seymour Hersh, Alison Lurie, Garry Wills, David McCullough, Robert Caro, Michiko Kakutani, Anna Quindlen, J. Anthony Lukas, George Plimpton, James Fallows, Michael Lewis, Andrew Sullivan, and Jane Mayer.
For many years, the award went mainly to writers from the Crimson and the Advocate. But starting in 1975, writers from the Independent began to win the prize committee’s attention. Over the prize’s final two decades, the Indy racked up six Dana Reed prizes and two honorable mentions. Nick Poolos’84 was a two-time honoree, picking up an honorable mention in 1983 and sharing the prize with Kristina Sorensen (née Harrison) in 1985.
Here’s the full list of Indy honorees. Article titles are given where available.
1975: Steven Asher ’76, winner, Dukakis article; Joan Didion, Frances Fitzgerald, Tom Winship, judges.
1982: David Bell ’83, winner, Bellow review; Spencer Claw, Felicia Lamport, David McCullough, judges.
1983: Nicholas Poolos ’84, honorable mention, “Aesthetic Angst.” Linda Greenhouse, Justin Kaplan, Calvin Trillin, judges.
1985: Nicholas Poolos ’84 and Kristina Sorensen (née Harrison) ’85, winners, two-part series on the homeless; C. Michael Curtis, William Gest, Robert Giroux, judges.
1987: Wade Roush ’89, winner, “Knocking on Closed Doors”; James Atlas, Anna Quindlen, William Whitworth, judges.
1989: Penelope Papailias ’89, winner, “New Chapter in an Old Story”; Jamaica Kincaid, Jesse Kornbluth, Patrician Strachan, judges.
1994: Andreas Liu ’96, honorable mention, “In the City of the Dead”; Steve O’Donnell, Andrew Sullivan, Linda Wolfe, judges
1995: Michael O’Shea ’95, winner, “Harvard’s Rebellion”; Jane Mayer, Kate Medina, Peter Prescott, judges.