Daniel Hernandez, 2015 Award Winner
Daniel Hernandez is a writer who explores hardship, survival and redemption in afflicted and marginalized communities. Hernandez’s work stood out for the way it brings intimacy and nuance to individual stories that convey issues of national concern. In writing for the Guardian, he gave voice to undocumented immigrants exploited on the Las Vegas Strip; he visited a state prison with a successful inmate rehabilitation program; and he shared the experiences of Mexicans fleeing drug cartel violence by seeking asylum in the U.S.
“As a freelancer it can be difficult, but I like to pursue stories about people stereotyped as deviants or groups that are simply ignored,” Hernandez says. “I am lucky to have found editors willing to give me the space needed to combine the necessary social and political context to explain a problem with the extended quotes and personal details that allow a subject’s humanity to shine.”
When he received the Margolis Award, Hernandez was working on a book about struggle and resilience that centers on communities in Las Vegas. As a freelance writer, his essays and journalism have appeared in The Guardian, The New York Times, The Daily Beast, The Millions, Quartz, The Los Angeles Review of Books and other publications. His career in the media began in the New York City bureau of the Tokyo Shimbun, a daily newspaper in Japan, where he also served as the United Nations correspondent.
“Winning this award is incredibly humbling,” Hernandez said at the time. “Richard Margolis devoted his career toward building empathy and bringing attention to cases of social injustice. This award offers great inspiration to continue working in that tradition. I know, too, that spending four weeks at Blue Mountain Center will be of tremendous benefit to my book, and for that I am very grateful.”