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New Times Contributor Robrt Pela Wins 2017 Eugene S. Pulliam National Journalism Writing Award

New Times Contributor Robrt Pela Wins 2017 Eugene S. Pulliam National Journalism Writing Award
Todd Grossman

Longtime Phoenix New Times contributor Robrt Pela has won the 2017 Eugene S. Pulliam National Journalism Writing Award for a story about caring for his mother, who has advanced Alzheimer's disease.

"In this emotional first-person narrative, Pela uses descriptive details, dark humor and extensive primary and secondary research to chronicle his experience and the broader national topic of aging in America," according to a release from Ball State University's Department of Journalism, which announced the award earlier this month.

click to enlarge Robrt Pela - TODD GROSSMAN
Robrt Pela
Todd Grossman
The judges called "Memory Lane: Living Where Everything is Forgotten" “a well-written and an enormously moving account that speaks for everyone who has become a longtime caretaker.”

Pela has written for New Times since 1991 — notably as the paper's theater critic — and is a longtime correspondent for KJZZ, the local National Public Radio affiliate. He is the author of Filthy: The Weird World of John Waters, and was the lead book critic for The Advocate for many years. He is currently working on a book about the decade he has spent as a caregiver for his mother.

He will travel to Indiana next month to accept his award and discuss the story and his career as part of the Ball State journalism department's "Professionals in Residence" program. The annual award was first given in 1960.


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Amy Silverman is a two-time winner of the Arizona Press Club’s Journalist of the Year award. Her work has appeared on the radio show This American Life and in the New York Times, the Washington Post, Lenny Letter, and Brain, Child. She’s the co-curator of the live reading series Bar Flies, and a commentator for KJZZ, the NPR affiliate in Phoenix. Silverman is the author of the book My Heart Can’t Even Believe It: A Story of Science, Love, and Down Syndrome (Woodbine House 2016). Follow her on Instagram (@amysilverman), Twitter (@amysilvermanaz), and at amy-silverman.com.