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June 29, 2018

New York, N.Y.—The trustees of Saint Thomas More: The Catholic Chapel & Center at Yale University and the directors of America Media are pleased to announce that Phil Klay, author of Redeployment (Penguin Press, 2014), is the 2018 Laureate of the George W. Hunt, S.J., Prize for Journalism, Arts & Letters for outstanding work in the category of Cultural & Historic Criticism.

“Phil is a young, dynamic and accomplished writer,” stated Matthew F. Malone, S.J., president & editor in chief of America Media, “and the committee is delighted to be able to recognize his seemingly natural talent with the written word.” “The Hunt Prize is meant to recognize the work of young writers whose work inspires and promotes the best of Roman Catholic intelligence and imagination,” stated Fr. Robert Beloin, chaplain of Saint Thomas More Chapel & Center at Yale, “and Phil’s clear articulation, profound expression, and highly engaging writing distinguish him and make him a most worth laureate for the prize.”

Mr. Klay will be awarded the $25,000 prize at a ceremony on September 20th at St. Thomas More Chapel & Center at Yale in New Haven, Connecticut. In addition to the monetary prize, he will also deliver an original piece at the ceremony that will then serve as the cover story of America magazine in an ensuing issue.

A native of Westchester, New York, Mr. Klay holds a Bachelor’s degree in creative writing and history from Dartmouth College. In 2005, he was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the United States Marine Corps. In January 2007, he deployed to Iraq with the 2nd Marine Logistics Unit (Forward) as a public affairs officer, and he served overseas for thirteen months, returning in February of 2008. He left the Corps in 2009 and attended Hunter College’s M.F.A. Program in Creative Writing, graduating in 2011. In 2015, he became a Hodder Fellow at Princeton University, and later taught as a Lecturer in Princeton’s Program in Creative Writing.

His work has appeared in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post and the Brookings Institution’s Brookings Essay series. In 2014, his short story collection, Redeployment was published and went on to win that year’s National Book Award for Fiction. Redeployment also received the National Book Critics’ Circle John Leonard Award for best debut work in any genre, the Marine Corps Heritage Foundation’s James Webb award for fiction dealing with U.S. Marines or Marine Corps life, the American Library Association’s W. Y. Boyd Literary Award for Excellence in Military Fiction, the Chautauqua Prize, and the Warwick Prize for Writing. Mr. Klay is currently a Fellow with the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, and he is writing a novel about post-9/11 involvement of the United States in Colombia.

The George W. Hunt, S.J. Prize for Excellence in Journalism, Arts & Letters, was established in 2014 to honor the memory of George W. Hunt, S.J., the longest-serving editor in chief of America magazine, and to promote scholarship, the advancement of learning and the rigor of thoughtful, religious expression; to support and promote a new generation of journalists, authors and scholars; and to support the intellectual formation, artistic innovation and civic involvement of young writers. Previous recipients of the Hunt Prize include: Dril Philip J. Metres III of John Carroll University; Elizabeth Dias of The New York Times; and Liam R. Callanan of University of Milwaukee-Wisconsin. 

The George W. Hunt, S.J. Prize is co-sponsored by Saint Thomas More: The Catholic Chapel & Center at Yale University and America Media. 

Saint Thomas More: The Catholic Chapel & Center at Yale University serves the Catholic community at Yale by creating a vibrant and welcoming community through worship and service; cultivating informed faith and spirituality; engaging in reflective discourse on faith and culture; advancing the church’s mission of promoting social justice; and participating in the global Church’s life and witness.

America Media is the leading provider of editorial content for thinking Catholics and those who want to know what Catholics are thinking. America Media leads the conversation about faith and culture by producing excellent, unique, relevant and accessible content across multiple platforms. Our contributors are the principal figures in the American church; the decision-makers and opinion leaders who lead the ecclesial and civic debate about religion, society, politics and the arts. Those with something to say to the American church say it in America: popes and presidents; Nobel laureates; Pulitzer Prize winners; world-renowned scholars; and distinguished men and women of letters. Our flagship magazine, America, has been published continuously since 1909, making it one of the oldest periodicals in the United States today.

Lisa Manico