This anthology collects the ten winners of the 2012 Best American Newspaper Narrative Writing Contest at the Mayborn Literary Nonfiction Conference, which is hosted by the Frank W. Mayborn Graduate Institute of Journalism at the University of North Texas. The contest honors exemplary narrative work and encourages narrative nonfiction storytelling at newspapers across the United States.
First place winner: Eli Saslow,“Life of a Salesman,” published by the Washington Post, is about a Manassas, Va., swimming pool salesman experiencing the unraveling of his decades-long success story.
Second place: Kelley Benham, “Never Let Go,” published by the Tampa Bay Times, is her personal account of the months following the birth of her premature daughter.
Third place: Anne Hull, “Breaking Free,” published by the Washington Post, traces a teenage girl’s climb out of poverty as she prepares for college.
Runner-ups include: John Branch, “The Day a Mountain Moved” (New York Times); Dan Barry, “Donna’s Diner: In the Hard Fall of a Favorite Son, a Reminder of a City’s Scars” (New York Times); Rosalind Bentley, “The Nation’s Poet” (Atlanta Journal-Constitution); Mark Johnson, “I Boy” (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel); Monica Rhor, “Homelessness” (Houston Chronicle); Louis Hansen, “The Girl Who Took Down the Gang” (Virginian-Pilot); and Martin Kuz, “Soldiers Recount 60-Second Attack That Left Them Reflecting on Life and Death” (Stars and Stripes).