The Richard J. Margolis Award is given annually to a promising nonfiction writer whose work combines warmth, humor, wisdom and concern with social justice. The award was established in honor of Richard J. Margolis, a journalist, essayist and poet who wrote with a generous humanity about the rural poor, migrant farm workers, the elderly, and Native Americans, as well as the political decisions that produce their economic hardships. He also wrote a number of books for children. The 2011 award is accompanied by a $5,000 honorarium and a one-month residency at Blue Mountain Center (Blue Mountain, New York), the award's sponsor.
Ms. Heinlein's first book, Among Murderers, which will be published by the University of California Press, is a work of literary nonfiction about three men navigating their new freedom after several decades in prison. The book had its origins when she spent time with convicted murderers at a halfway house in New York City's West Harlem neighborhood. Ms. Heinlein says the book "provides an intimate sketch of a rarely seen demographic and reveals a pressing public policy issue: more than 700,000 people are released from prisons each year, and these numbers are growing steadily."
Ms. Heinlein is also at work on a collection of essays tentatively titled A Portrait of the Writer as a Rabbit that explores what life is like for "New York City's underdogs: unfunny clowns, sleepy mattress salesman and unhinged fortunetellers."
"While I strive to accurately portray 'how the other half lives,' I also believe that making myself an active part of the story adds to its meaning," she says. Ms. Heinlein graduated from New York University with a master's degree in journalism in 2007. She has been awarded a Yaddo residency and fellowship, a New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship, and a residency at The MacDowell Colony. Most recently, one of her essays won the 2010 American Literary Review Nonfiction Award. Her work has been featured or is forthcoming in The Idler, The Iowa Review, Tablet Magazine, The Brooklyn Rail and Die Zeit, among other publications. Ms.Heinlein teaches writing at the College of Mount Saint Vincent in Riverdale, New York.
About the College of Mount Saint Vincent
Founded in 1847, the College of Mount Saint Vincent is a co-educational, independent institution rooted in the spirit and mission of the Sisters of Charity and committed to the liberal arts. The College’s undergraduate and master’s level degree programs prepare its uncommonly diverse students for lives of professional achievement and service. Visit www.mountsaintvincent.edu for more information.
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