ASJA Presents 2005 Writing Awards

New York, April 15, 2005 – The American Society of Journalists and Authors (ASJA) presented awards to 12 members for outstanding books and magazine articles published in 2004 – during the organization’s annual Writers Conference. Two of these writers were the first to win ASJA’s new “Arlene” Award for “writing that makes a difference”, given in memory of the late Arlene Eisenberg, the bestselling author of “What to Expect When You’re Expecting,” and a long-time ASJA member.

The organization also presented its Career Achievement Award to

Alvin and Heidi Toffler

of Los Angeles, CA. Alvin Toffler has been foretelling the future for so long that he can now look back and count how many of his predictions have come true, including the rise of the Internet and of cable television. In 1983, he won ASJA’s author of the year award for the book that brought him international fame and added a new phrase to the language, “Future Shock.” In collaboration with his wife, Heidi, Toffler has written 13 award-winning books and many articles about his groundbreaking social theories.

Bob Cooper

of San Anselmo, California, won the Arlene for “Rich in Books,” published in San Francisco Chronicle Magazine. This powerful profile of a philanthropist who is building school libraries in Asia inspired readers to donate more than $100,000 in cash and goods — enough to open 50 new libraries for children in some of the world’s poorest countries. The gift of education is intended to help these students escape the cycle of chronic poverty.

Kim Kavin

of Wilton, Connecticut, was also honored with the Arlene for “The Crisis Cops,” published in Northeast, the Sunday magazine of The Hartford Courant. This compelling article describes the dramatic difference specially trained police Crisis Intervention Teams (CITs) can make to people suffering from mental illness. Kavin’s reporting prompted the governor of Connecticut to announce $2 million in state and federal funding to create CITs in four of the state’s largest cities.

Topics of the other award-winning books and articles ranged from the ethics of erasing memories to assisted reproductive technology, from overcoming poor parenting to overcoming writer’s block, from dangerous dogs to food-borne diseases to hazardous highways, from blood clots to the Craigslist phenomenon and to the battle for a balanced life.

In the book category,

Robin Marantz Henig

of New York City won ASJA’s award for general non-fiction for Pandora’s Baby: How the First Test Tube Babies Sparked the Reproductive Revolution, published by Houghton Mifflin. In describing the scientific, moral, and intensely human dilemmas engendered by the new reproductive technology, Henig transforms a staggering amount of complex data into a coherent, engaging, superbly reported page-turner about one of the most important social revolutions of our time.

Kathryn Black

of Boulder, Colorado, won an honorable mention in the general nonfiction category for Mothering Without a Map, published by Viking. Black skillfully blends memoir, research and interviews to explore the challenges faced by women who were raised by physically or emotionally absent mothers. She asks and then persuasively answers the central question of how someone who was “undermothered” can become a good mother herself?

Barbara DeMarco-Barrett

of Corona del Mar, California, won ASJA’s award for service, self-help, collaborative or specialty nonfiction for Pen on Fire, published by Harcourt. In this imaginative, compassionate and eminently useful guide to “igniting the writer within,” DeMarco-Barrett shows us how to create both the time and the emotional space to write each day–no matter how busy, or how blocked, we imagine we are. Pen on Fire makes a regular writing practice seem not only possible, but actually fun.

In the articles category,

Robin Marantz Henig

won her second ASJA award of the year, the coveted June Roth Memorial Award for medical writing for her brilliantly insightful feature “The Quest to Forget,” published in the April 4, 2004, issue of The New York Times Magazine. Henig’s narrative is both pedagogical and Orwellian. She introduces us to the emerging science of therapeutic forgetting, and highlights the unnerving possibility that the ability to erase memories may be just around the corner.

Honorable Mention for the June Roth Memorial Award went to

Tamara Eberlein

of Ridgefield, CT, for her article “Blood-Clotting Disorders,” which appeared in the June 2004 issue of Redbook. Reporting that more Americans die of thrombophilia, a vastly under-diagnosed blood-clotting disorder, than of breast cancer, AIDS, and car accidents combined, Eberlein enlightens and engages us from word one of her meticulously researched and reported article.

ASJA’s award for reporting on a significant topic went to

Salley Shannon

of Charlotte, NC, for her article “The New Hazard on the Highway,” published in Good Housekeeping in May, 2004. Using heartbreaking examples of innocent deaths caused by “good” people running red lights, Shannon forces us to reevaluate our thinking about what too many consider a minor traffic infraction.

Rebecca Skloot

of New York City won the award in the category of first person, essay or personal experience for “When Pets Attack,” published in the October 11, 2004 issue of New York Magazine. The gripping account of her battle to close a legal loophole that allowed a dangerous pack of dogs to roam the streets of Manhattan is both horrifying and spellbinding. Skloot’s wonderful storytelling also brought significant attention to the issue and forced the city to take action after many years.

Idelle Davidson

of Los Angeles received ASJA’s award for a magazine profile with her article “The Shy Savant,” published in the June 13, 2004, issue of the Los Angeles Times Magazine. Davidson aptly profiles Craig Newmark, founder of Craigslist, by artfully blending details about his business operations and his personality into one engaging portrait.

In the service article category, the winner was

Christie Aschwanden

of Cedaredge, CO for her article, “The Kitchen Comes Clean,” published in the July/August 2004 issue of Health magazine. Aschwanden’s innovative and humorous approach to food safety turned what could have been a boring subject into an engaging read. By contrasting her husband’s neat-freak habits with her own sloppy ones, she demonstrated how much or little we really know about safe food preparation.

Richard Laliberte

of Macungie, PA, received an Honorable Mention in the service category for “Time of Your Life,” published in the November/December 2004 issue of Best Life. This detailed article offers practical ways for men to get more balance in their lives, while asserting that it’s up to them to figure out their true priorities and pursue them.

ASJA, the nation’s leading organization of non-fiction freelance writers was founded in 1948 and is made up of more than 1,000 members who have met the organization’s exacting standards of professional achievement.