Her words changed the world.

Stowe Prize

The Harriet Beecher Stowe Prize for Writing for Social Justice

Stowe Prize logo

Bryan Stevenson, Executive Director of the Equal Justice Initiative, is the winner of the 2017 Stowe Prize for Writing to Advance Social Justice. Stevenson receives the Stowe Prize for his memoir Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption, illustrating how the U.S. criminal justice system disproportionately targets the poor and disadvantaged.

Stevenson was a young lawyer when he founded the Equal Justice Initiative, a civil rights law practice dedicated to ending mass incarceration and excessive punishment in the United States, challenging racial economic injustice, and protecting basic human rights for the most vulnerable people in American society.

One of his first cases was Walter McMillian, a man convicted and sentenced to die for the murder of a young white woman in Monroeville, Alabama, despite the state’s lack of tangible evidence. The case drew Stevenson into a tangle of conspiracy, political machinations, and legal brinksmanship, and transformed his understanding of mercy and justice.
Bryan Stevenson

Read the news release


Visit the Program Calendar for all Stowe Prize Events


Stowe Prize Day: June 8, 2017

Stevenson (right) will accept the Stowe Prize at the Stowe Center’s Big Tent Jubilee, a ticketed fundraising event on June 8, 2017.  Buy tickets for the Big Tent Jubilee.

He will also speak at a free afternoon public program on June 8.

Both events supported by Legacy Presenting Sponsor, The Hartford

For more information on these and other Stowe Prize events, visit the Stowe Center calendar.   

The Stowe Prize is awarded biennially to a United States author whose written work makes an impact on a critical social issue in the tradition of Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin. Named in honor of Harriet Beecher Stowe, the $10,000 Stowe Prize was established to honor the 200th anniversary of her birth in 2011. 

Stowe's 1852 novel Uncle Tom's Cabin changed how Americans thought about slavery, galvanizing the antislavery movement and widening the divisions that led to the Civil War. Translated into 70 languages, Uncle Tom's Cabin remains an international classic, read for its powerful portrayal of the struggle for freedom.

Legacy Presenting Sponsor

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Award History


Ta-Nehisi Coates


Ta-Nehisi Coates, articles published in The Atlantic including The Case for Reparations

Photos : 2015 Conversation on Race and Inspiration to Action Networking Fair

Photos : 2015 Big Tent Jubilee


The Stowe Center thanks The Hartford , Legacy Presenting Sponsor of The 2015 Big Tent Jubilee




Book Cover and Author

Michelle Alexander, The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness

Photos : 2013 Inspiring Action networking fair and Real Stories of Social Change, Stowe Prize panel discussion

Audio: Real Stories of Social Change, Stowe Prize panel discussion

Photos : 2013 Stowe Prize Big Tent Jubilee

Video : Michelle Alexander reflection

The Stowe Center thanks The Hartford , Presenting Sponsor of The 2013 Big Tent Jubilee


Authors & Book Cover


Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn, Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide

Video : Kristof and WuDunn reflection

Photos: Coming Soon


The Stowe Center thanks The Hartford , Presenting Sponsor of The 2011 Big Tent Jubilee