Journalist and author Katherine Boo has won the New York Public Library’s 2013 Helen Bernstein Book Award for Behind The Beautiful Forevers.
The $15,000 award goes to “journalists whose books have brought clarity and public attention to important issues, events, or policies.” Boo had this comment as she received the award:
Consistently, the recipients of this award make the argument through their work that you can’t just complain or accept that the American public don’t give a damn about genocide in Rwanda or ruined lives in the inner city … What this award symbolizes to me is that as a journalist working in the field, you have to report harder and work harder, until you make the American public give a damn. That’s what good writing with a capital ‘W’ is. Over the years, the Library has honored some bad-ass women, and has always honored hard-core, fierce reporting.
The other finalists for the award were: Confront and Conceal by David Sanger, Little America: The War Within The War for Afghanistan by Rajiv Chandrasekaran, Spillover by David Quammen and Under the Surface: Fracking, Fortunes and the Fate of the Marcellus Shale by Tom Wilber.
(Author photo by Sean Scanlin)