ASJA Presents 2004 Writing Awards

New York, April 28, 2004
– The American Society of Journalists and Authors (ASJA) presented awards to 15 members for outstanding magazine articles and books published in 2003 at a luncheon at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in New York City during the organization's annual Writers Conference. The organization also presented its Career Achievement Award to past president
Ruth Winter
of Short Hills, NJ.

Winter, an award winning and visionary science writer, is the author of 34 books and hundreds of articles for national magazines. She also has lectured widely on subjects ranging from food and cosmetic safety to building your brainpower. In the 1970s she was one of the first writers to alert the public to the dangers of food additives and to other potentially harmful ingredients in food, cosmetics and other consumer items. Topics of the award-winning books and articles ranged from genetic testing to children's mental health, robots, a spiritual quest among cloistered nuns, adolescent health and the story of the Wright brothers written for children.

Melba Newsome
, of Charlotte, NC, won ASJA's coveted June Roth Memorial Award for medical writing for her article "Genetic Roulette" published in the August 2003 issue of O, The Oprah Magazine. The article focuses on a family facing a devastating genetic illness, and the individual struggles of each member to decide whether to have the test that would reveal whether he or she was destined to develop the disease. The ASJA Awards Committee judges said that Newsome managed to convey heartache without pathos, to lucidly explain the science behind genetic testing and to engagingly carry the reader from the story of one compelling character to the next.

Trish Riley
, of Sunrise, FL, won the Donald Robinson Award for Investigative Journalism for her piece "Toxic Schools," which appeared in the April 2003 issue of South Florida Parenting. Riley chronicles a school district's battle against toxic mold. Her work led to changes in the county affected, the ultimate test of success for an investigative reporter. Honorable Mention for the Donald Robinson Award went to
Claudia Dreifus
, of New York City, for her article "Women on Death Row" published in the Spring 2003 issue of Ms. Magazine.

ASJA's award for a magazine service article went to
Cheryl Platzman
Weinstock
for "What a Difference Five Years Makes" published in the September 2003 issue of More. Weinstock revisited four women who suffered from different potentially deadly diseases five years ago and traced the impact of recent advances in treatment on their lives. ASJA's award for reporting on a significant topic went to
Gloria Hochman
, of Wynnewood, PA, for her article "Pain" which appeared in the March 16, 2003 issue of the Philadelphia Inquirer magazine. Hochman artfully blended facts, explanations from specialists and heart-wrenching stories of parents struggling with their childrens' mental illness to produce a compelling and empowering piece.

ASJA's award for essay writing went to
Marian Sandmaier
for "Listening to Zebras" which appeared in the Washington Post on June 3, 2003. Sandmaier takes the reader along on her search for the truth about her daughter's headaches and other symptoms, a harrowing quest with a happy ending. Beautifully written, with poignant insights into every parent's worst fears, the essay conveys an uplifting message about taking matters into your own hands when the experts fail you.
Dan Ferber
, of Urbana, IL, won ASJA's award for a magazine profile for his article "The Man Who Mistook His Girlfriend for a Robot" published in Popular Science in September 2003. Fresh, funny, informative, and thought-provoking, the profile splendidly blends humor, science, and youthfulness to appeal to a wide audience. In crafting the profile Ferber gives us fascinating glimpses into the history, future, obsessions and thought relating to robotics.

Anita Bartholomew
, of Sarasota, FL, won ASJA's award for business and technology writing for her article "Balance" published in the October/November 2003 issue of MBA Jungle. Bartholomew's creative approach turned potentially disastrous situations – suicide-prevention, a death-row exoneration, a police standoff -- into memorable business lessons on the art of negotiation.

Honorable mention in the business and technology category went to
Claire Tristram
, of San Jose, CA, for her article "Supercomputing Resurrected" published in the February 2003 issue of Technology Review. Tristram took a complex subject (part science, part diplomacy) and distilled it into a story that enables us to understand not only why the Japanese have dominated this complex field, but why we should care.

In the book category,
Kristin Ohlson
, of Cleveland Heights, OH, won ASJA's award for general non-fiction for Stalking the Divine, published by Hyperion Press. Sparked by a visit to an inner city church where the "Poor Clares", a group of cloistered nuns, practice perpetual prayer Ohlson embarked on a spiritual quest that produced a beautifully written book about the mysteries of faith.
Betty Rothbart
, M.S.W. of Brooklyn, NY, won ASJA's award for service, self-help, collaborative, and specialty non-fiction for her book Healthy Teens, Body and Soul: A Parent's Complete Guide to Adolescent Health, co-authored by Andrea Marks, M.D. and published by Fireside Press. This comprehensive book takes a delightfully upbeat approach to parenthood's most challenging years. Starting with basic information about adolescent development, the authors - both parents of teenagers - thoroughly cover key physiological and psychological issues, encourage parents and teens to work as health partners, and provide a superb foundation for this new relationship.

Mary Collins
, of Alexandria, VA, won ASJA's award for children's and young adult's non-fiction for Airborne: A Photobiography of Wilbur and Orville Wright, published by National Geographic Books. Collins' photobiography provides much to captivate children as it traces the Wright brothers' pioneering, and sometimes dangerous, attempts design and build an airplane that actually worked.

Two ASJA members won honorable mention in the general non-fiction book category:

Andrea King Collier
, of Lansing, MI, for Still with Me: A Daughter's Journey of Love and Loss, published by Simon & Schuster. Collier focuses on her mother's battle with ovarian cancer and reports on the toll this disease takes among the African-American community.

Steve Kemper
, of West Hartford, CT, for Code Name Ginger: The Story Behind Segway and Dean Kamen's Quest to Invent a New World, published by Harvard Business School Press. Kemper chronicles the birth of the spectacularly unsuccessful Segway motor scooter drawing a vivid portrait of the inspiration, egomania, confusion, and dashed dreams that went along with bringing this new invention to market. He offers a fascinating inside look at inventor Dean Kamen and brings to life the media frenzy that plagued the Segway after this top-secret project became public knowledge, as well as the disappointments that followed.

Jennifer Lawler
, of Lawrence, KS, won honorable mention in the service, self-help, collaborative, and specialty non-fiction category for Dojo Wisdom: 100 Simple Ways to Become a Stronger, Calmer, More Courageous Person, published by Penguin Books. In this thoughtful and beautifully written book, Lawler distills the wisdom of the dojo, the martial arts training hall, into 100 practical life lessons, each carefully explained and including an exercise.

  • A blank piece of paper is God's way of telling us how hard it is to be God.
    – Sidney Sheldon
  • A critic is a man who knows the way but can't drive the car.
    – Kenneth Tynan
  • A good many young writers make the mistake of enclosing a stamped, self–addressed envelope, big enough for the manuscript to come back in. This is too much of a temptation to the editor.
    – Ring Lardner
  • A young musician plays scales in his room and only bores his family. A beginning writer, on the other hand, sometimes has the misfortune of getting into print.
    – Marguerite Yourcenar
  • All the words I use in my stories can be found in the dictionary – it's just a matter of arranging them into the right sentences.
    – Somerset Maugham
  • Asking a working writer what he thinks about critics is like asking a lamppost how it feels about dogs.
    – Christopher Hampton
  • Being a writer is like having homework every night for the rest of your life.
    – Lawrence Kasdan
  • Copy from one, it's plagiarism; copy from two, it's research.
    –Wilson Mizner
  • Everywhere I go I'm asked if I think the university stifles writers. My opinion is that they don't stifle enough of them.
    – Flannery O'Connor
  • I just wrote a book, but don't go out and buy it yet, because I don't think it's finished yet.
    – Lawrence Welk
  • I love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by.
    – Douglas Adams
  • I'm writing a book. I've got the page numbers done.
    – Stephen Wright
  • It took me fifteen years to discover I had no talent for writing, but I couldn't give it up because by that time I was too famous.
    – Robert Benchley
  • It's a damn poor mind that can only think of one way to spell a word.
    – Andrew Jackson
  • Most writers can write books faster than publishers can write checks.
    – Richard Curtis
  • No fathers or mothers think their own children ugly; and this self–deceit is yet stronger with respect to the offspring of the mind.
    – Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra
  • There are three rules for writing the novel. Unfortunately, no one knows what they are.
    –Somerset Maugham
  • Writing a novel is like paddling from Boston to London in a bathtub. Sometimes the damn tub sinks. It's a wonder that most of them don't.
    – Stephen King
  • Writing a novel is like spelunking. You kind of create the right path for yourself. But, boy, are there so many points at which you think, absolutely, I'm going down the wrong hole here.
    – Chang–rae Lee
  • Your manuscript is both good and original, but the part that is good is not original, and the part that is original is not good.
    –Samuel Johnson