The Richard J. Margolis Award is given annually to a promising new journalist or essayist whose nonfiction work combines warmth, humor and wisdom and sheds light on issues of social justice.
The award honors the life of Richard J. Margolis (1929-1991), a renowned journalist, essayist and poet who gave eloquent voice to the rural poor, migrant farmworkers, Native Americans, aging adults and others whose voices are seldom heard. He also wrote several books for children.
The award combines a one-month residency at Blue Mountain Center, an acclaimed writers' and artists' colony in New York’s Adirondack Mountains, with a $5,000 prize (finalists receive $1,000 but no residency).
Dick Margolis gave powerful voice to those who are rarely heard. He was the consummate wordsmith whose writings had rhythm and touches of poetry even when delving into matters of dry public policy.
Learn about the gifted writers who have received the Margolis Award since its inception in 1992, and explore some of their works.
Smith writes about the failures of the criminal justice system and mass incarceration.