In 2015, the Dennis & Victoria Ross Foundation inaugurated the Hitchens Prize, awarded annually to an author or a journalist whose work, in the spirit of the late Christopher Hitchens, “reflects a commitment to free expression and inquiry, a range and depth of intellect, and a willingness to pursue the truth without regard to personal or professional consequence.”
Hitchens, a columnist for Vanity Fair and a contributing editor at The Atlantic, died in 2011. A number of his Atlantic colleagues published tributes at the time, seeking to capture the man and his work. They remembered him as a singular thinker, an intellectual giant whose conversation, writing, and internal drive inspired awe, even if his views didn’t always evoke agreement.
“No writer in the English-speaking world could match the depth and range of his reading, experience, and acquaintances,” his good friend and longtime editor, Benjamin Schwarz, wrote. “He wrote slashing and lively, biting and funny—and with a nuanced sensibility and a refined ear that he kept in tune with his encyclopedic knowledge and near-photographic memory of English poetry.”
“Hitchens’s work ethic was legendary, his ability unmatched,” an associate editor at the magazine, Nicholas Jackson, remembered. “He’s the only writer that I’ve ever written a fan letter to.”