I Want You to Be (University of Notre Dame Press, 2016) is one of six finalists in the philosophy category of the award. Tomáš Halík worked as a psychotherapist during the Communist regime in Czechoslovakia while at the same time was secretly ordained as a Catholic priest and active in the underground church. Since the fall of the regime, he has served as General Secretary to the Czech Conference of Bishops and was an advisor to Václav Havel. He has lectured at many universities throughout the world and is currently a professor of philosophy and sociology at Charles University. His books have been translated into many languages and have received several literary prizes.
In his two previous books translated into English, Patience with God and Night of the Confessor, Halík focused on the relationship between faith and hope. In I Want You to Be, he examines the connection between faith and love, meditating on a statement attributed to St. Augustine—amo, volo ut sis, “I love you: I want you to be”—and its importance for contemporary Christian practice.
The book was translated by Gerald Turner, who has translated numerous banned authors from Communist Czechoslovakia, including Václav Havel, Ivan Klíma, and Ludvík Vaculík.
The winners will be announced 24 June.