Blaire Briody, 2014 Award Winner
Blaire Briody is a writer whose work explores how environmental and economic issues affect everyday Americans, focusing on those often ignored by politicians and major media outlets.
Her first book, The New Wild West: Black Gold, Fracking, and Life in a North Dakota Boomtown, was published by Macmillan/St. Martin's Press in 2017. The focus of her time at Blue Mountain Center after winning the Margolis Award, it details how a once-quiet town in North Dakota suddenly became the new frontier of U.S. energy independence, weaving in stories of the families who have lived there for generations and the migrant laborers desperate to make a living. To complete the initial research, she spent two months living in a trailer park in Williston, North Dakota, to be near her subjects and document the town's struggles to adjust to the oil boom.
Briody has spent several years as a freelance journalist, writing for The New York Times, Popular Science, Fast Company and others, and previously worked as a reporter andeditor at the national business news site, The Fiscal Times. She graduated from The University of California, Davis, with a degree in international relations.
"I enjoy exploring broader social issues through the stories of individuals and immersing myself in their environment,” Briody says. “My goal with The New Wild West is to give voice to the people living in North Dakota's oil boom region and provide the reader with a deep understanding of what fracking, oil and our relationship to the land means for all of us. The Richard J. Margolis Award will be paramount in helping me complete my book, and I'm incredibly humbled and grateful to receive such a prestigious honor."