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The New York Public Library Announces the Nominees for the 2008 Helen Bernstein Book Award for Excellence in Journalism


Winner to Be Announced at May 20 Ceremony, Followed by Free Public Program Seduction

The New York Public Library has announced the finalists for the 2008 New York Public Library Helen Bernstein Book Award for Excellence in Journalism. The winning writer will be announced at a Tuesday, May 20 award ceremony at the Library’s Humanities and Social Sciences Library at Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street. President Paul LeClerc will present the honor, which includes a $15,000 cash prize and is given annually to a journalist whose book brings clarity and public attention to important issues, events, or policies. Following the ceremony, there will be a free public program titled Seduction à la française: Politics, Society, and Discourse, featuring a conversation between Elaine Sciolino, former award winner and Paris Correspondent for The New York Times, and Dr. LeClerc.

The finalists were chosen by a Library Review Committee from among 75 titles nominated by their publishers for the award, which has been given since 1988. They are:

• Jonathan Cohen, Senior Editor, The New Republic
Sick: The Untold Story of America's Health Care Crisis – and the People Who Pay the Price(HarperCollinsPublishers)

• Naomi Klein, Columnist, The Nation and The Guardian
The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism(Metropolitan Books, Henry Holt and Company)

• Robyn Meredith, Senior Editor and Foreign Correspondent, Forbes
The Elephant and the Dragon: The Rise of India and China and What It Means for All of Us(W. W. Norton & Company)

• Charlie Savage, Washington correspondent, The Boston Globe
Takeover: The Return of the Imperial Presidency and the Subversion of American Democracy (Little, Brown & Company)

• Jeffrey Toobin, Legal Analyst, CNN and Staff Writer, The New Yorker
The Nine: Inside the Secret World of the Supreme Court (Doubleday)
Past Bernstein Award winners include Lawrence Wright, Thomas Friedman, George Packer, Tina Rosenberg, David Remnick, and Nicholas Lemann.

Public Program
In celebration of the 2008 Helen Bernstein Book Award for Excellence in Journalism, a public program featuring a conversation about Paris and France between Elaine Sciolino, former award winner and Paris Correspondent for The New York Times, and Library President Paul LeClerc will be held in the Humanities and Social Science Library’s South Court Auditorium. The public can register for this free 7 p.m. event by e-mailing

About the Selection Committee
The 2008 Selection Committee, which selects the winner from among the five finalists, is chaired by James F. Hoge, Jr., Editor of Foreign Affairs, Council on Foreign Relations. The other 2008 committee members are: Ellis Cose, Contributing Editor, Newsweek; Harold McGraw III, Chairman, President and CEO, The McGraw-Hill Companies; Jack Rosenthal, President, The New York Times Company Foundation; and Elaine Sciolino, Paris Correspondent; The New York Times, and 2001 Bernstein Award recipient for her book Persian Mirrors: The Elusive Face of Iran.

About The New York Public Library Helen Bernstein Book Award
Established in 1987 as an annual award, The New York Public Library Helen Bernstein Book Award for Excellence in Journalism honors an outstanding journalist whose book has drawn public attention to important current issues or events. The award was established with a gift from Joseph F. Bernstein in honor of Helen Bernstein, a former journalist in Palm Beach, Florida. The gift also included an endowment for the position of the Helen Bernstein Chief Librarian for Periodicals and Journals in the Humanities and Social Sciences Library. The chair is currently held by Karen Gisonny, who oversees a collection of 11,500 current periodicals in 24 languages. This collection is used by approximately 60,000 researchers annually and is an invaluable resource for writers, artists, journalists, broadcasters, business people, and students. Information about the award and the nomination process is available online at

About The New York Public Library
The New York Public Library was created in 1895 with the consolidation of the private libraries of John Jacob Astor and James Lenox with the Samuel Jones Tilden Trust. The Library provides free and open access to its physical and electronic collections and information, as well as to its services. It comprises four research centers – The Humanities and Social Sciences Library; The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts; the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture; and the Science, Industry and Business Library – and 87 Branch Libraries in the Bronx, Manhattan, and Staten Island. Research and circulating collections combined total more than 50 million items. In addition, each year the Library presents thousands of exhibitions and public programs, which include classes in technology, literacy, and English as a second language. The New York Public Library serves over 16 million patrons who come through its doors annually and another 25 million users internationally, who access collections and services through its website,


Contact: Gayle Snible 212.592.7713 |