2012-03-23: Winners of 2012 Writing Awards

March 23, 2012, New York, NY -- 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.

"Prize-winning entries in the ASJA Awards reflect such writing and stylistic excellence that we authors read them and think ‘I wish I'd written that!'" said Salley Shannon, ASJA's president. "We created the awards not just to honor outstanding work, but to inspire us."

The awards will be presented on April 26 during the 41st annual ASJA Writers Conference, held in New York City at the Roosevelt Hotel. ASJA will also recognizes two of its most illustrious members with special awards.

Founded in 1948, ASJA is the professional association of independent nonfiction writers, with more than 1400 members who have met exacting standards for professional achievement.




General Nonfiction


WINNER: Running Away to Home by Jennifer Wilson (St. Martin's Press)

Honorable Mention: Blood Work by Holly Tucker (W.W. Norton & Company)

Honorable Mention: Better by Mistake by Alina Tugend (Riverhead Hardcover)


Service/Self Help


WINNER: Naked at Our Age by Joan Price (Seal Press)

Honorable Mention: Built on Values by Nancy Shepherdson (and Ann Rhoades) (Jossey-Bass)

Honorable Mention: Having Children After Cancer by Gina Shaw (Celestial Arts)




WINNER: The Kitchen Counter Cooking School by Kathleen Flinn (Viking)

Honorable Mention: Far Away from the Tigers by Jane Katch (University of Chicago Press)

Honorable Mention: Not Dead Yet by John Hanc (and Phil Southerland) (Thomas Dunne Books)


Children's/Young Adult


Honorable Mention: Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony by Penny Colman (Henry Holt and Company)

Honorable Mention: Charles Dickens and the Street Children of London by Andrea Warren (Houghton Mifflin)





June Roth Award for Medical Journalism -- Article


WINNER: "Who's Spiking Your Supplements?" by Laura Beil (Men's Health)

Honorable Mention: "The Hidden Dangers of Outsourcing Radiology" by Katherine Eban (Self)


Arlene Eisenberg Award Honoring Articles that Make a Difference


WINNER: "Fighting Back" by Lisa Armstrong (Essence)


First Person Narrative:


WINNER: "Big Love" by Lise Funderburg (MORE)

Honorable Mention: "Coming Full Circle" by Marian Sandmaier (Psychotherapy Networker)

Honorable Mention: "Me vs. My Stalker" by Julie Weingarden Dubin (Marie Claire)


Personal Essay


WINNER: "Once, a Husband" by Diane Daniel (New York Times)

Honorable Mention: "Sometimes, It's Not You" by Sara Eckel (New York Times)

Honorable Mention: "The Tumor Tour" by Amy Paturel (The Valley Advocate)

Honorable Mention: "My Best Friend Stole My Brother" by Susan Shapiro (Marie Claire)


Reporting on a Significant Topic


WINNER: "Crisis in the Caves" by Michelle Nijhuis (Smithsonian)

Honorable Mention: "The Gloucester Fish War" by Brendan Borrell (Bloomberg Business Week)




WINNER: "The Chameleon" by John Moir (The Washington Post)




WINNER: "Farm Direct" by Steven Biggs (Country Guide)

Honorable Mention: "Memory Analysis with DumpIt and Volatility" by Russ McRee (ISSA Journal)

Honorable Mention: "Animation Evolution" by Barbara Robertson (Computer Graphics World)




WINNER: "Steering Clear of Disaster" by Ken Miller (Prevention)

WINNER: "Help Your Son Succeed in School" by Jennifer L.W. Fink (Parents)

Honorable Mention: "Testing the Limits" by Richard Laliberte (Family Circle)

Honorable Mention: "At a Hotel on Business? Be On Alert, Too" by Michael Luongo (New York Times)


Lifestyle Narrative


WINNER: "The Great Pumpkin" by Brendan Borrell (Smithsonian)

Honorable Mention: "Antarctica" by Margie Goldsmith (Business Jet Traveler)

Honorable Mention: "Riding the Rails" by Crai S. Bower (Journey)


Business/Technology Article


WINNER: "The Antisocial Network" by Caren Chesler (Popular Mechanics)




Ms. Loebl joined ASJA in 1975 on the strength of two young adult books, (Fighting the Unseen, The Story of Viruses and Exploring the Mind, the Story of Mental Health.) Suzanne has now written 14 books. Her latest, just published to glowing reviews, is America's Medicis, The Rockefellers and Their Astonishing Cultural Legacy (Harper Collins). The book has resulted in speaking invitations for Suzanne around the country. Most important, Suzanne understands the basic writer's lesson of turning one's one experiences into prose. She is a survivor of the Holocaust. She wrote a book about it. She lost her beloved son David early to the AIDS epidemic. She wrote a book about it. Her mother-in-law died of a fatal drug interaction prescribed by a physician. She spent five years writing the first edition of The Nurses Drug Handbook, to teach nurses about drugs. She organized the book like a pharmacological test, yet managed to maintain a quick reference system. This enormous work (1,000 plus pages) was an instant and huge success. Its seven editions have sold more than 350,000 copies. It's still going.




Throughout 25 years of ASJA membership, Ms. Collier Cool has handled increasingly important jobs with distinctive energy and creativity, deploying her professional skills to enrich the Society. As chair of the Program Committee for five years, she brought us lively and relevant panels. A longtime member of the Conference Committee, she served as moderator and panelist and ran a Sunday seminar on query letters. Later on, she helped start the Story Leads Committee, which sent a monthly e-mail about ASJA members' projects to 7000 media sources. She has lent her knowledge of ASJA and the publishing business to both the Nominating and the Awards Committees.

As President of ASJA, she worked with Howard Eisenberg to set up the Arlene Awards and encouraged Society-wide support of the Writers Emergency Assistance Fund (WEAF), to which she donated the stipend from her own June Roth Award.

In her capacity as Vice-President, President and immediate past president, she served on the Board of Directors for ten years. After her presidential term was up, she moved over to chair WEAF, bringing imagination and effectiveness to bear on ASJA's charitable enterprise. When Lisa's fundraising skills were applied in good economic times, donations increased so dramatically that the WEAF could raise its grants to a maximum of $6000, and she vastly increased the Fund's bank balance. Now that she's stepped down from the chairmanship, she continues to serve as a Trustee. In fact, when and if Lisa sleeps is a mystery to us all.

  • 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