“Fantasyland” and “Mattering Matters” Win Council for Secular Humanism’s Forkosch Awards


For Immediate Release: October 9, 2018
Contact: Paul Fidalgo, Communications Director
press@centerforinquiry.org - (207) 358-9785

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The Council for Secular Humanism has announced the recipients of the 2017 Forkosch Awards, recognizing the book and magazine article that made the greatest contributions toward the advancement of secular humanism during that year. The Council for Secular Humanism is a program of the Center for Inquiry, and co-publisher of Free Inquiry magazine.

The Morris D. Forkosch Award for Best Book of 2017 goes to novelist and public radio host Kurt Andersen for his nonfiction bestseller Fantasyland: How America Went Haywire: A 500-Year History, which explores Americans’ heightened predisposition to embrace fallacies, falsehoods, and extraordinary claims.

The Selma V. Forkosch Award for Best Article for 2017 goes to Rebecca Newberger Goldstein (pictured lower right) for her essay in the February/March 2017 issue of Free Inquiry“Mattering Matters.” The article fully explores her concept of mattering, which she introduced her 1983 debut novel, later to discover that her idea had been taken up by philosophers. As she contended in the award-winning article, the drive to feel that one matters “lies close to an aspect of human nature that all but defines what it is to be human.”

Established in 1988, the Morris D. Forkosch Award recognizes the best humanist book of the year and carries an honorarium of $1,000. The Selma V. Forkosch Award recognizes the year’s outstanding article in Free Inquiry magazine, the Council’s flagship journal, and carries a prize of $250.

Previous Morris D. Forkosch Award winners have included Ali A. Rizvi for The Atheist Muslim: A Journey from Religion to Reason (2016) and Mark A. Smith for Secular Faith: How Culture Has Trumped Religion in American Politics (2015). Previous winners have included Susan Jacoby for The Great Agnostic: Robert Ingersoll and American Freethought (2012), Daniel C. Dennett for Breaking the Spell: Religion as a Natural Phenomenon (2006), and Stephen Jay Gould for Wonderful Life: The Burgess Shale and the Nature of History (1989).

Previous Selma V. Forkosch Award winners have included Phil Zuckerman for “Secularism and Social Progress” (2016) and Leah Mickens for “Theology of the Odd Body: The Castrati, the Church, and the Transgender Moment” (2015).

Nominations are now being accepted for the best book and best Free Inquiry article of 2018, and will remain open throughout the calendar year. Individuals wishing to nominate a work should email Free Inquiry editor Tom Flynn at tflynn@centerforinquiry.org.

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The Center for Inquiry (CFI) is a nonprofit educational, advocacy, and research organization headquartered in Amherst, New York, with executive offices in Washington, D.C. It is also home to the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason & Science, the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry, and the Council for Secular Humanism. The Center for Inquiry strives to foster a secular society based on reason, science, freedom of inquiry, and humanist values. Visit CFI on the web at centerforinquiry.org.