On a night full of upsets, Ben Ehrenreich pulled perhaps the biggest one.
The son of writer Barbara Ehrenreich took home the National Magazine Award for feature writing.
His story, “The End,” appeared in the November 2010 issue of Los Angeles and detailed the trip from death bed to grave. The Brown University grad tells the tale with skill, mixing reporting and wit to produce a memorable feature.
But still, to win the Ellie, Ehrenreich scored more votes than David Grann, David Freed in The Atlantic, and (my personal favourite) Michael Paterniti‘s unusual, wonderful, poignant “The Suicide Catcher” in GQ. That is some impressive company. To beat them… damn.
(Chris Jones, who had a minor freak out when he was not nominated for his wonderful Roger Ebert profile, put it best: “Wow. Ben Ehrenreich (LA Mag) won the Ellie for best feature over David Grann and Michael Paterniti. Giant killer.”)
There was much celebrating on Twitter when he won, but Ehrenreich is not new to the magazine world. He has reported from Afghanistan, South America, Haiti, and many states across the U.S. You can find his work in The New York Times, The Believer, Harper’s, the Los Angeles Times, and plenty of other important publications. In 2007, he published The Suitors, a novel that apes The Odyssey.
Clearly, this is not an author who is afraid to mingle with the giants of his profession.
On Monday night, he took them down.