Dr. Carl Hart, High Price (Harper)

The PEN/E. O. Wilson Literary Science Writing Award celebrates writing that exemplifies literary excellence on the subject of physical and biological sciences. The winner receives a cash award of $10,000 and will be honored at the PEN Literary Awards. The PEN/E. O. Wilson Literary Science Writing Award was founded by scientist and author Dr. Edward O. Wilson, activist and actor Harrison Ford, and the E. O. Wilson Biodiversity Foundation. The inaugural award was conferred in 2011.

2014 Judges

Akiko Busch, Rivka Galchen, and Eileen Pollack

From the Judges’ Citation

The lifetime of research that is the foundation for High Price stretches from the streets of Miami’s hood to the labs of Columbia University. In drawing on such a broad range of resources, neuroscientist Carl Hart demonstrates how personal experience and scientific study can inform and validate each other for a deeper understanding of human behavior and addiction. Dr. Hart’s unflinching view of his past, along with his rigorous academic inquiry, make for a document of innovative thinking and profound humanity. Written with clarity, honesty, and courage, High Price offers a compelling argument to reconsider this country’s policies on drug use, which have proved so ineffective not only from a legal standpoint, but from medical and social perspectives as well.


The End of Night (Little, Brown and Company), Paul Bogard
Five Days at Memorial (Crown), Sheri Fink
High Price (Harper), Carl Hart
Surfaces and Essences (Basic Books), Douglas Hofstadter & Emmanuel Sander
Wild Ones (Penguin Press), Jon Mooallem


Frankenstein’s Cat (Scientific American / Farrar, Straus & Giroux), Emily Anthes
The End of Night (Little, Brown and Company), Paul Bogard
Five Days at Memorial (Crown), Sheri Fink
High Price (Harper), Carl Hart
Surfaces and Essences (Basic Books), Douglas Hofstadter & Emmanuel Sander
Wild Ones (Penguin Press), Jon Mooallem
Gulp (W.W. Norton & Company), Mary Roach
Weird Life (W.W. Norton & Company), David Toomey
What the Dog Knows (Touchstone), Cat Warren
Paleofantasy (W.W. Norton & Company), Marlene Zuk

Past winners

Siddhartha Mukherjee, James Gleick, and Leonard Mlodinow

Click here for additional information, including submission guidelines, for the award.