American Society of Journalists and Authors 2009 Writing Awards

New York, NY / April 24, 2009 -- The American Society of Journalists and Authors (ASJA) announced the recipients of its annual writing awards, honoring the outstanding nonfiction work produced on a freelance basis during the past year. ASJA is the professional association of independent nonfiction writers. Founded in 1948, its more than 1300 members have each met exacting standards for professional achievement.

"The ASJA awards are part of the organization's ongoing effort to support, encourage, nurture and reward excellent nonfiction writing," says Russell Wild, ASJA president. "In these times especially when complete nonsense born on the blogosphere and spread through the Internet (‘Barack Obama is not a U.S. citizen') can pass for truth, we must do everything in our power – and more – to foster quality journalism."

ASJA also recognized two of its members for extraordinary career achievement and service to the organization. Robin Marantz Henig, the renowned science writer, received the Founders' Award for Career Achievement. The recipient of ASJA's Extraordinary Service Award was Cecil Murphey, author of 112 books. The awards were presented on April 24 during the 38rd Annual ASJA Writers Conference in New York City.

 

ASJA Outstanding Book Awards

 

General Nonfiction

 

Winner: Kimberly Lisagor and Heather Hansen — Disappearing Destinations (Vintage, 2008)

Honorable Mention: John Rosengren — Hammerin' Hank, George Almighty & The Say Hey Kid (Sourcebooks, 2008)

Honorable Mention: Russell Leigh Sharman and Cheryl Harris Sharman — Nightshift NYC (Univ. of California, 2008)

Service/Self Help

 

Winner: Kathy Seal and Wendy Grolnick — Pressured Parents, Stressed Out Kids (Prometheus, 2008)

Honorable Mention: P. Murali Doraiswamy, Lisa Gwyther, and Tina Adler — Alzheimer's Action Plan (St. Martin's Press, 2008)

ASJA Outstanding Article Awards

 

First Person, Essay, or Personal Experience

 

Winner: Margie Goldsmith — "In a Way, He Took Our Lives, Too", WashingtonPost.com, January 28, 2008

Honorable Mention: Kristin Ohlson — "Watching TV in Kabul", New York Times Magazine, July 20, 2008)

Profiles

 

Winner: Shari Caudron — "Uncorked" 5280, Denver's Magazine, June, 2008

Honorable Mention: Todd Pitock — "The Toughest Adventurer?" Discovery Channel Magazine, April/May 2008

Honorable Mention: Andrea Cooper — "Am I Nothing But What I Remember?", Neurology Now, July/August 2008

Service

 

Winner: Florence Williams — "Is it Safe to Heat Food in Plastic?", Good Housekeeping, November 2008

Reporting on a Significant Topic

 

Winner: Siri Carpenter — "Buried Prejudice", Scientific American Mind, April/May 2008

Honorable Mention:

 

Florence Williams — "The Runner's Footprint" Runner's World, November 2008

Honorable Mention: Michelle Nijhuis — "The Doubt Makers", Miller-McCune, June-July 2008

Trade

 

Winner: JoAnn Greco — "La Vida Local", Planning, March 2008

Honorable Mention: Michele Meyer — "When Old Meets New" IIDA Perspective, Fall 2008

Honorable Mention: John Rosengren — "Lakers vs.. Globetrotters—1948" Mlps. St. Paul, March 2008

Business/Technology

 

Winner: Michael Fitzgerald — "Clawing Back", Boston Globe Magazine, December 14, 2008

Honorable Mention: Michael Fitzgerald — "Hotbed", Fast Company, April 2008

Honorable Mention: Michele Meyer — "The Secret Power of Tweens", USA Weekend Magazine, August 8, 2008

June Roth Memorial Award for Medical Journalism

 

Winner: Linda Marsa — "Acid Test", Discover, June 2008

Honorable Mention: Douglas Fox — "The Private Life of the Brain" New Scientist, November 8, 2008

Honorable Mention: Katherine Eban — "Your Hospital's Deadly Secret", Portfolio, March 2008

Founders Award for Career Achievement: Robin Marantz Henig

 

The ASJA Founders' Award for Career Achievement is given to Robin Maranz Henig, who specializes in science and medicine. An award-winning staff writer for The New York Times Magazine, she has written articles for numerous magazines and several books, including Pandora's Baby, which chronicled the history of in vitro fertilization, A Dancing Matrix about emerging viruses, and The Monk in the Garden: The Lost and Found Genius of Gregor Mendel.

Robin has received fellowships from the Alicia Patterson Foundation, the Knight Foundation for Science Writing, the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation and the Marine Biological laboratory, and lectured widely at such institutions as the Columbia University School of Journalism, New York University, Boston University Knight Center for Science Journalism, Johns Hopkins, the Smithsonian Institution, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory and the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Extraordinary Service Award: Cecil (Cec) Murphey

 

Early in Cecil Murphey's freelance career, he made two vows: to never stop learning about his craft and to do anything he could to help other writers. One way he's recently honored that pledge is by donating $50,000 to ASJA's Writers Emergency Assistance Fund (WEAF)—by far the largest gift WEAF has ever received. He also recently launched a nonprofit foundation that gives needy writers scholarships to attend professional conference so they can network, sharpen their skills and gain inspiration. His charity also provides grants to aid writers in marketing their published work.

A sought-after speaker and writing instructor, he's taught at hundred of writers' conferences, as well as mentored dozens of aspiring writers. The author of 112 books, including the New York Times bestsellers, 90 Minutes in Heaven, Gifted Hands: The Ben Carson Story and a sequel, Think Big, he has received a number of awards, including the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association's Lifetime Achievement Award, the Silver Angel Award, the Gold Medallion Award and the Dixie Council of Authors and Journalists' Author of the Year award.

  • 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.
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    – Marguerite Yourcenar
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    – Somerset Maugham
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    – Christopher Hampton
  • Being a writer is like having homework every night for the rest of your life.
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