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Richard J Margolis Award

About Richard J. Margolis

Career Highlights

selected articles

Selected New Leader Columns

Reports & Monographs

Op-Ed Pieces & Book Reviews

 

Past Winners

2016
David Denver Robinson

 

2015
Daniel Hernandez

 

2014
Blaire Briody

 

2013
Patrick Arden

 

2012
Inara Verzemnieks

 

2011
Sabine Heinlein

 

2010
Doug Hunt

 

2009
Joe Wilkins

 

2008
Gabriel Thompson

 

2007
Stephanie Griest

 

2006
Marie myung-ok lee

 

2005
Kisha Lewellyn

 

2004
Nelson smith

 

2003
John Bowe

 

2002
Iyesatta Massaquoi

 

2001
Otis Haschemeyer

 

2000
Adrian Nicole LeBlanc

 

1999
Susan Parker

 

1998
Laura Distelheim

 

1997
Julie Lasky

 

1996
E.J. Graff

 

1995
Josip Novakovich

 

1994
Maggie Dubris

 

1993
Judith Levine

 

1992
Richard Manning

 

Inara Verzemnieks

 

Inara Verzemnieks is a writer whose work focuses on people making homes in places where no one was meant to live, and whose preferred method is to inhabit the worlds she writes about. For 13 years Verzemnieks was a staff writer at the Oregonian in Portland, Oregon, where she wrote features often focused on the city's overlooked people and places.  In 2007, she was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in feature writing.  Verzemnieks left the paper in 2009 to focus on her writing career.  She is currently a teaching fellow at the University of Iowa's Nonfiction Writing Program, from which she will graduate with an MFA in May 2013.  She received a Rona Jaffe Writer's Award earlier in 2012. 

 

“I am particularly interested,” Verzemnieks says, “in stories that cannot be accessed unless you are on the ground, fully immersed in the lives you are trying to understand – stories that demand that you stay and inhabit a place until you move past seeing it simply as spectacle.”

 

In 2009 she began following the lives of several people who lived in a freeway rest area, some for more than a decade.  Her writing from this ongoing project helped earn her the Margolis Award.

 

Verzemnieks is currently at work on a book on the experiences of exiles at the end of World War II, in particular the stories of those sent to Siberia to live in special settlements -- how they managed to make lives in a place where no one was ever meant to live.