Features, Free Speech, Must Reads

The 2018 Free Thought Awards

Quillette’s success comes from a group of writers compelled to express the truth as they see it. We couldn’t be prouder of our association with so many inspiring, talented free thinkers. From the dozens, we give a special nod to these five for their stellar contribution in 2018.

Free Thought Award for Courage


Stuart Reges

Stuart Reges, lecturer in computer science at the University of Washington, made headlines after his essay exploring the gender gap in computer science was published. The follow-up to his original essay documents the institutional blowback he endured for expressing his empirically validated opinion that, on average, men and women tend to have different occupational interests. Reges’ writing reflects a high level of intellectual integrity in the face of opposition.


Why Women Don’t Code

Is It Sexual Harassment to Discuss this Article?

Free Thought Award for Original Contribution


Uri Harris

Using the analytical tools popular within the humanities and social sciences, Uri Harris has offered original insights on the social justice movement and critical theory itself. Taken together, his essays represent an original contribution in the fields of meta-theory and the sociology of academia more broadly.


Thinking Critically About Social Justice

Jordan B Peterson, Critical Theory, and the New Bourgeoisie

Free Thought Award for Investigation


Brad Cran

Brad Cran, a former poet laureate of Vancouver, was not always a dissident voice within the Canadian literature community. But when he began noticing unsettling procedural irregularities in regard to the treatment of sexual assault allegations against UBC creative writing chair Steven Galloway, Cran began his own year-long independent investigation. The result was an 11,000-word article that systematically set out the process by which dubious and unproven allegations against Galloway were used to smear his reputation and destroy his career. Since the appearance of Cran’s article, numerous other media outlets have reported on his findings, and Galloway has filed suit against his false accusers.


A Literary Inquisition: How Novelist Steven Galloway Was Smeared as a Rapist, Even as the Case Against Him Collapsed

Free Thought “Rising Star” Award


Coleman Hughes

Coleman Hughes, an undergraduate philosophy major at Columbia University, has gained widespread attention for penetrating essays in 2018. Coleman writes with elegance and conceptual clarity that reflects a depth of thought and mastery of his craft well beyond his years.


The High Price of Stale Grievances

The Racism Treadmill

Free Thought “Corona Muralis” Award


Meghan Murphy

One of the greatest honours a soldier could earn in the Roman legions was the corona muralis—the “walled crown”—awarded to the first Roman soldier who went over the wall of the enemy battlements. This honour often went to wounded soldiers, since the first man over any wall often was the one who attracted the heaviest fire. So it was for our Corona Muralis winner, Meghan Murphy, who has led the fight against the most radicalized factions of the gender-rights movement, which for years have defamed and harassed her. As a result of Murphy’s activism and on-line activities, her Twitter account was permanently suspended, an injustice that we would like to see reversed. But thanks to her efforts, she has paved the way for others to make their own voices heard on this important issue.


Canada’s Twitter Mobs and Left-Wing Hypocrisy

Twitter’s Trans-Activist Decree


  1. Anne Bossy says

    It’s a challenge keeping up with all the outstanding material produced in 2018 but I will make time for the Quillette Free Thought awards.

  2. E. Olson says

    What a travesty of justice this is!!! These awards seem to be based entirely on merit, otherwise how do the selectors justify giving 80% of awards to men and white people? I hope 2019 is better spent developing a selection criteria that makes up for past injustices so that 100% of next year’s awards are based on author membership in persecuted and protected classes of people. Let’s make the new year the first to achieve perfect social justice for all.

  3. Very impressive and important work done by all these authors. It is not always an easy thing to stand by principles in the face of popular and “unquestionable” doctrine. My respect to all of the awardees for their dedication to intellectual freedom and honesty. At societies’ rate, we might need to consider a Giordano Bruno award next year.

  4. ga gamba says

    Four of the five are excellent choices. I would have omitted Murphy for her proved history of censoring others on her own website. She demands freedoms are extend to herself, yet is not a practitioner of it by failing to extend the same consideration to others.

    Congratulations to Messrs Rege, Cran, Harris, and Hughes.

  5. Glenn says

    I’m happy to see Coleman Hughes here. Clicked, got what I came for.

    Congratulations to the other authors as well. I’ve read almost all of these.

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