ASJA 2017 Award Winners

ASJA Announces Winners of Freelance Writing Awards

March 30, 2017— New York, NY — The American Society of Journalists and Authors (ASJA) announces the recipients of its annual writing awards, which honor outstanding nonfiction articles and books produced on a freelance basis last year.  Some categories are open to all freelance writers.  Most are open only to ASJA members, all of whom are self-employed, professional writers.  

“Every year I’m amazed by the quality of writing produced by my ASJA peers,” says awards co-chair Janine Latus. “It makes me proud to be a member.”  Co-chair Salley Shannon agreed, adding, “Lots of ‘can’t put it down’ reads on this winners’ list.”

All are welcome to the ASJA Awards Gala on Friday, May 5, 2017, at the Roosevelt Hotel in New York. It’s part of ASJA2017: Pivot, Publish, Prosper. ASJA’s Annual Writers Conference.  Several winners are part of the conference program. Tickets for the Gala and full Conference information are available here.

The 2017 ASJA Award Winners are listed below and their work is online — click here:

ASJA Writing Awards for Articles

The Arlene Award “for an article that makes a difference”
 “Tiger Temple Accused of Supplying Black Market” by Sharon Guynup, writing in National Geographic.

The Donald Robinson Award for Investigative Reporting
“How Casinos Enable Gambling Addicts” by John Rosengren, writing in The Atlantic.

June Roth Award for Medical Writing
“Checkmate: Beating Cancer at Its Own Game” by Kenneth Miller, writing for Discover.

Personal Blog Post
“Oh, the Perils We Face” by Rae Francoeur, writing in her blog, “Free Fall.”
Honorable mention: “Little Free Library: Take a book, leave a book” by Ellen Ryan, in her blog, “ryansite.”

“Owl Wars” by Emily Sohn, for bioGraphic.
Honorable mention: “Are we loving Monarchs to death?” by Susan Brackney in

Excellence in Reporting
“Out of the Shadows” by Maggie Ginsberg, writing in Madison magazine.
Honorable mention: “Officers who rape: the police brutality chiefs ignore” by Steven Yoder in Al Jazeera America.

First-Person Experience/Essays
“A Deeper Boom” by Gary Ferguson, writing for Orion.

Honorable mention: “Identity Lost and Found.  Growing up in the South, a multi-ethnic girl navigates the cultural divide” by Anjali Enjeti. The story appeared in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Health & Fitness
“The Brain That Wasn’t Supposed to Heal” by Apoorva Mandavilli, in The Atlantic.

Honorable mention: “This Mother Drank While Pregnant. Here’s What Her Daughter’s Like at 43” by Alexandra Rockey Fleming, in The Washington Post.

“The Forgiveness Tour” by Susan Shapiro, for

“An Icy Hothouse of Change” by Todd Pitock, in Geographical.

Opinion/Op Ed
“The Sadness of Solving a Mystery” by Cameron Walker, writing in Hakai Magazine.

“At Their Peak” by Christine Koubek, for Bethesda Magazine.

“Taking Shergar” by Milton C. Toby, writing in​

ASJA Writing Awards for Books

The Hundred-Year Walk – An Armenian Odyssey, by Dawn Anahid MacKeen. The judges called this book “two stories of courage in one rich narrative: a granddaughter uses her grandfather’s letters and diaries to follow his path through the World War I Armenian Genocide.”

General nonfiction
In Good Hands: Investigating Death, Mystery, and the Lessons of Broken Trust in One Family Daycare by David Hechler. The judges said, “Riveting reading! Hechler masterfully builds suspense over the outcome of abuse trials. Small details help readers ‘see’ the characters. There’s also a primer for parents seeking a daycare center.”

Honorable mention: One Child: The Story of China’s Most Radical Experiment by Mei Fong. The judges said, “This beautifully written book juxtaposes the author’s own desire to have children against the ramifications of China’s recently ended government edict.”

Because of Eva: A Jewish Genealogical Journey, by Susan J. Gordon. Judges said, “Gordon nicely interwove history, her family’s story and her own personal quest. We liked how the story flowed and how tightly it is written.”  One judge noted, “it’s a beautiful addition to Jewish/WWII work.”

Honorable mention: Ketchup is My Favorite Vegetable: A Family Grows Up with Autism, by Liane Kupferberg Carter.  Judges said, “This book beautifully captures the struggle and joy of having an autistic child.”

The Cancer Survival Guide, by Charlotte Libov. Judges said, “This terrific resource is the book we’d want if diagnosed. It’s comprehensive, clearly written and has authoritative, up-to-date advice on the latest research and treatments for numerous types of cancer.”

Honorable mention: The Cocktail Hour Garden, by C.L. Fornari. Judges said, “You’ll be drawn in by the glorious photographs and descriptions of flowers and backyard hideaways.” Fornari’s ultimate message is that time spent with others in calming, outdoor settings is an investment in good health.

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About the American Society of Journalists and Authors

Founded in 1948, the American Society of Journalists and Authors is the nation’s professional organization of independent nonfiction writers. Our membership consists of outstanding freelance writers of magazine articles, trade books, and many other forms of nonfiction writing, each of whom has met ASJA’s exacting standards of professional achievement. ASJA offers extensive benefits and services focusing on professional development, including regular confidential market information, meetings with editors and others in the field, an exclusive referral service, seminars and workshops, discount services and, above all, the opportunity for members to explore professional issues and concerns with their peers. ASJA is a primary voice in representing freelancers’ interests, serving as spokesman for their right to control and profit from uses of their work in the new media and otherwise. Visit for more details.