Szczygieł picked up his award at a ceremony in Warsaw on Sunday for his book Nie ma (which in English means “Not There”), a collection of real-life stories about people who have had to deal with various kinds of emptiness.
The book delves into the lives of an Albanian painter, Polish twin sisters, a Ukrainian soldier, a Czech poet and an Israeli writer.
Szczygieł has won critical acclaim in the past for a series of books and collections of literary reportage including Gottland and Project: Truth.
Seven books were in the running for the top prize this year: four novels, two collections of journalistic pieces and one biography.
The Nike prize has been given out since 1997 to authors working in various genres.
Writers who have won the award in the past include Czesław Miłosz, Dorota Masłowska and Olga Tokarczuk.
Last year the award went to Marcin Wicha for a volume of short stories entitled Rzeczy, których nie wyrzuciłem (The things I did not throw away), which portrays the life and passing of the author’s mother.