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National Magazine Award

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National Magazine Award

This article is about the American award. For the Canadian award, see Canadian National Magazine Awards.
National Magazine Awards
Awarded for Excellence in the magazine industry
Sponsor American Society of Magazine Editors
Date Annual
Country United States
Presented by Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism
First awarded 1966

The National Magazine Awards are a series of American awards that honor excellence in the magazine industry. They are sponsored by the American Society of Magazine Editors and administered by the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism in New York City, New York. The awards have been presented annually since 1966.[1]

They are generally considered the highest award in the magazine industry; in the magazine world, they are roughly equivalent to the Pulitzer Prizes (which are far more widely known in the popular culture, but do not include a magazine category).[2][3]

Recipients of awards are selected in a two-step procedure: First, entries are reviewed by a judging panel, which recommends a group of finalists; then, a second panel of judges chooses one winner in each category. Categories include:

  • General Excellence
  • Personal Service
  • Leisure Interests
  • Reporting
  • Public Interest
  • Feature Writing
  • Profile Writing
  • Essays
  • Columns and Commentary
  • Reviews and Criticism
  • Magazine Section
  • Single-Topic Issue
  • Design
  • Photography
  • Photojournalism
  • Photo Portfolio
  • Fiction
  • General Excellence Online
  • Personal Service Online
  • Interactive Feature

Winners in each of the categories are awarded an "Ellie", a copper-colored stabile sculpture by Alexander Calder, resembling an elephant, which is manufactured by New York firm Society Awards. The National Magazine Awards web site has a searchable database of all the winners and top-five finalists.

Select winners

Magazine of the Year

Year Magazine
2010 Glamour
2011 National Geographic
2012 Time

Essays & Criticism

Honors "long-form journalism that presents the opinions of the writer on topics ranging from the personal to the political". Category formerly titled "Essays" 2000–2010.

Year Winner(s) Article(s) Magazine
1978 Michael Herr "High on War" Esquire
1979 Malcolm Cowley "The View from 80" Life
1980 Stephen Jay Gould For columns on evolutionary biology Natural History
1981 Lance Morrow "Back to Reticence", "Return to Patriotism", "Rediscovering America" Time
1982 Holly Bruback "Designer Dancing", "Balanchine's Tchaikovsky", "Moving Pictures" The Atlantic
1983 Steven Brill "Headnotes" (column) The American Lawyer
1984 Charles Krauthammer "The End of the World", "Crosscurrents: Pseudo-Private Lives", "The Politics of a Plague" The New Republic
1985 Howard Carr "Politics" Boston
1986 Robert Wright "The Information Age: bsohligrimtyhplrylvdb", "The Computer Behind the Curtain", "His Voice's Master" The Sciences
1987 David Quammen "The Same River Twice", "Out of the Noösphere", "Chambers of Memory" Outside
1988 L. J. Davis "The Next Panic" Harper's Magazine
1989 Edward Hoagland, William Kittredge, Shelby Steele "The Urge for an End", "Who Won the West? Apologies to the Water Birds and Ranchhands", "I'm Black, You're White, Who's Innocent" Harper's Magazine
1990 William Styron "Darkness Visible" Vanity Fair
1991 Hans Christian von Baeyer "The Aesthetic Equation", "A Ripple in Gravity's Lens", "Dead Ringer" The Sciences
1992 Katha Pollitt "Naming and Blaming: Media Goes Wilding in Palm Beach", "Why We Read: Canon to the Right of Me..." The Nation
1993 Roger Parloff "Maybe the Jury Was Right" The American Lawyer
1994 Lucy Grealy, Louise Erdrich, David Beers "Mirrorings", "A Woman's Work", "The Crash of Blue-Sky California" Harper's Magazine
1995 Lewis H. Lapham "Robert Barons Redux", "Morte de Nixon", "Terms of Endearment" Harper's Magazine
1996 Simon Schama "True Grid", "Did He Do It?", "Modes of Seduction" The New Yorker
1997 Adam Gopnik "Escaping Picasso" The New Yorker
1998 Cynthia Ozick "Who Owns Anne Frank?" The New Yorker
1999 Emily Hiestand "Hymn" The Atlantic
2000 Brian Hayes "Clock of Ages" The Sciences
2001 Adam Gopnik "Like a King" The New Yorker
2002 Jonathan Franzen "My Father's Brain" The New Yorker
2003 Anne Fadiman (alias Philonoë) "A Piece of Cotton" The American Scholar
2004 Laura Hillenbrand "A Sudden Illness" The New Yorker
2005 David Quammen "Was Darwin Wrong?" National Geographic
2006 Marjorie Williams "A Matter of Life and Death" Vanity Fair
2007 Michael Donohue "Russell and Mary" The Georgia Review
2008 Thomas E. Kennedy "I Am Joe's Prostate" New Letters
2009 Tracy Ross "The Source of All Things" Backpacker
2010 Garrison Keillor "Top Ten State Fair Joys" National Geographic
2011 John Jeremiah Sullivan "Mister Lytle: An Essay" The Paris Review
2012 Wesley Yang "Paper Tigers" New York

Feature Writing

Honors "original, stylish storytelling". Category introduced in 1988.

Year Winner Article Magazine
1988 Paul Hoffman "The Man Who Loves Only Numbers" The Atlantic
1989 Chip Brown "The Transformation of Johnny Spain" Esquire
1990 Katie McCabe "Like Something the Lord Made" The Washingtonian
1991 Joseph L. Galloway "Vietnam Story" U.S. News & World Report
1992 Gary Smith "Shadow of a Nation" Sports Illustrated
1993 Jane Kramer "Whose Art Is It?" The New Yorker
1994 Darcy Frey "The Last Shot" Harper's Magazine
1995 Tom Junod "The Abortionist" GQ
1996 Tom Junod "The Rapist Says He's Sorry" GQ
1997 Gary Smith "Crime and Punishment" Sports Illustrated
1998 Michael Paterniti "Driving Mr. Albert" Harper's Magazine
1999 Clara Claiborne "Exiting Nirvana" The American Scholar
2000 Gary Smith "Moment of Truth" Sports Illustrated
2001 David Foster Wallace "The Weasel, Twelve Monkeys and the Shrub" Rolling Stone
2002 Penny Wolfson "Moonrise" The Atlantic
2003 John Jeremiah Sullivan "Horseman, Pass By" Harper's Magazine
2004 Katherine Boo "The Marriage Cure" The New Yorker
2005 Chris Jones "Home" Esquire
2006 Priscilla Long "Genome Tome" The American Scholar
2007 Andrew Corsello "The Other Side of Hate" GQ
2008 Paige Williams "You Have Thousands of Angels Around You" Atlanta
2009 Chris Jones "The Things That Carried Him" Esquire
2010 Skip Hollandsworth "Still Life" Texas Monthly
2011 Ben Ehrenreich "The End" Los Angeles
2012 Luke Dittrich "Joplin!" Esquire


Honors the best short stories published in magazines. Previously titled "Fiction and Belles-Lettres" (1974–1976), and "Fiction, Criticism and Belles-Lettres" (1977).

Year Author(s) Story Magazine
1970 Alfred Gillespie, Rick Sterry, Lucille Clifton "Tonight at 9:36", "Troubadour", "The Magic Mama" Redbook
1971 N/A N/A Esquire
1972 William Kotzwinkle "A Most Incredible Meal" Mademoiselle
1973 Grace Paley "Enormous Changes at the Last Minute" The Atlantic
1974 Roberta Silman, Harold Brodkey, Larry Woiwode "A Bad Baby", "A Story in an Almost Classical Mode", "Burial" The New Yorker
1975 William Kotzwinkle "Swimmer in the Secret Sea" Redbook
1976 Hortense Spillers "Isom" Essence
1977 Li-li Ch'en "Peking! Peking!" Mother Jones
1978 Peter Taylor, Mavis Gallant, Woody Allen "In the Miro District", "Potter", "Kugelmass Episode" The New Yorker
1979 Richard Yates "Oh, Joseph, I'm So Tired" The Atlantic
1980 Joy Williams "The Farm" Antaeus
1981 Richard Abrons, Ward Just, Maria Thomas "Every Day a Visitor", "A Guide to the Geography of Vermont", "Summer Opportunity" The North American Review
1982 Nadine Gordimer, Edna O'Brien, John Updike "A Correspondence Course", "Sister Imelda", "The City" The New Yorker
1983 Louise Erdrich, William F. VanWert, Erica Liederman "Scales", "Putting and Gardening", "The Novitiate" The North American Review
1984 Elizabeth Benedict, Roberta Silman, Anne Tyler "An Eighty Percent Chance", "The Education of Esther Eileen", "Teenage Wasteland" Seventeen
1985 Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Andre Dubus III, John Gardner "The Trail of Your Blood on the Snow", "Forky", "Julius Caesar and the Werewolf" Playboy
1986 Lee K. Abbott, Mary Hood, Gary Gildner "Time and Fear and Somehow Love", "Something Good for Ginnie", "Somewhere Geese are Flying" The Georgia Review
1987 Louise Erdrich, Edgar Wideman, Tim O'Brien "Fleur", "Doc's Story", "The Things They Carried" Esquire
1988 Ernst Havemann, Richard Bausch, John Sayles "A Farm at Raraba", "The Man Who Knew Belle Starr", "The Halfway Diner" The Atlantic
1989 Michael Cunningham, Ethan Mordden, Mary Grimm "White Angel", "I Read My Nephew Stories", "We" The New Yorker
1990 Alice Munro, Michael Frayn, Richard Bausch "Goodness and Mercy", "The Trick of It", "Letter to the Lady of the House" The New Yorker
1991 Saul Bellow, Rachel Ingalls, Reynolds Price "Something to Remember Me By", "Faces of Madness", "Serious Need" Esquire
1992 Annick Smith, Amy Bloom, W.D. Wetherell "It's Come to This", "Silver Water", "The Greatest Living Mayan Speller Extant" Story
1993 Alice Munro, Martin Amis, Emily Carter "A Wilderness Station", "Career Move", "Parachute Silk" The New Yorker
1994 Tom Earley, George Saunders, Allan Gurganus "The Prophet from Jupiter", "The 400-Pound CEO", "The Practical Heart" Harper's Magazine
1995 Tim Gautreaux, Alice Schell, Kim Edwards "Waiting for the Evening News", "Kingdom of the Sun", "The Story of My Life" Story
1996 Mark Slouka, George Saunders, Tova Reich "The Woodcarver's Tale", "Bounty", "The Lost Girl" Harper's Magazine
1997 John Updike, Jeffrey Eugenides, Cynthia Ozick "New York Girl", "Baster", "Save My Child!" The New Yorker
1998 Lorrie Moore, Steven Millhauser, Annie Proulx "People Like THAT?US? Are the Only People Here", "A Visit", "Brokeback Mountain" The New Yorker
1999 Richard Russo, Lorrie Moore, Michael Chabon "The Whore's Child", "Lucky Ducks", "Son of the Wolfman" Harper's Magazine
2000 Jhumpa Lahiri, George Saunders, Robert Stone "The Third and Final Continent", "The Barber's Unhappiness", "Dominion" The New Yorker
2001 Rebecca Lee, Robert Olen Butler, Stacey Richter "Fialta", "Fair Warning", "The Cavemen in the Hedges" Zoetrope: All-Story
2002 Alice Munro, E.L. Doctorow, Akhil Sharma "What is Remembered", "A House on the Plains", "Surrounded by Sleep" The New Yorker
2003 Don DeLillo, A.S. Bryant, E.L. Doctorow "Baader-Meinhof", "The Thing in the Forest", "Jolene: A Life" The New Yorker
2004 Arthur Miller, George Saunders, Stephen King "Presence", "The Red Bow", "Rest Stop" Esquire
2005 Nathan Roberts, Aryn Kyle, Robert Olen Butler "An Incomplete Map of the Northern Polarity", "Foaling Season", "The One in White" The Atlantic
2006 Alan Heathcock, Joyce Carol Oates, R.T. Smith "Peacekeeper", "Smother", "Ina Grove" Virginia Quarterly Review
2007 T.C. Boyle, Susan Steinberg, Rajesh Parameswaran "Wild Child", "To Sit, Unmoving", "The Strange Career of Dr. Raju Gopalarajan" McSweeney's Quarterly
2008 Daniel Mason, Alice Munro, Steven Millhauser "Death of the Pugilist", "Fiction", "A Report on Our Recent Troubles" Harper's Magazine
2009 Annie Proulx, Aleksandar Hemon "Them Old Cowboy Songs", "The Noble Truths of Suffering" The New Yorker
2010 Anthony Doerr, Wells Tower, Kevin Moffett "Memory Wall", "Raw Water", "Further Interpretations of Real-Life Events" McSweeney's Quarterly
2011 Paul Theroux "Minor Watt" Virginia Quarterly Review
2012 Karen Russell "The Hox River Window" Zoetrope: All-Story

Public Interest

Category formerly titled "Public Service" 1970–1986.

Year Author(s) Article Magazine
1970 William Lambert "Fortas: A Question of Ethics" Life
1971 "The Wired Nation", "The Cops Hit the Jackpot" The Nation
1972 "The River Pirates" Philadelphia
1974 "Life and Death in Medicine" Scientific American
1975 "Is the Water Safe to Drink?" (three-part series) Consumer Reports
1976 Irene Pave "The Corporate Woman: Up the Ladder, Finally" BusinessWeek
1977 Loretta Schwartz "The Forgotten Children" Philadelphia
1978 Mark Dowie "Pinto Madness" Mother Jones


Honors "reporting excellence as exemplified by one article or a series of articles". Category formerly titled "Reporting Excellence" 1970–1978 and 1980.

Year Winner Article(s) Magazine
1970 Richard Harris, Daniel Lang "Annals of Politics" and "Casualties of War" The New Yorker
1971 Ward Just "Soldiers" The Atlantic
1972 Ross Terrill "The 800,000,000: Report from China" The Atlantic
1973 Gail Sheehy "The Landlords of Hell's Bedroom" and "The Old Man in the Bronx" New York
1974 Paul Brodeur, John McPhee, Karl E. Meyer "Annals of Industry: Casualties of the Workplace", "The Plundered Past", "Reporter at Large: The Plundered Past" The New Yorker
1975 Noel Mostert "Supertanker" The New Yorker
1976 Alvin Josephy, George Rieger "Dr. Strangelove Builds a Canal", "Song of the Seal" Audubon
1977 Curtis K. Stadtfeld "Cheap Chemicals and Dumb Luck" Audubon
1978 John McPhee A six-part series on Alaska The New Yorker
1979 Richard West A three-part series on life in three disparate areas of Texas Texas Monthly
1980 Mark Dowie "The Corporate Crime of the Century" Mother Jones
1981 Robert J. Samuelson "Money Makes the World Go Round: But What If It Can't Any More?" National Journal
1982 John Pekkanen "The Saving of the President" The Washingtonian
1983 Chris Welles "Drysdale: What Really Happened?" Institutional Investor
1984 Francine du Plessix Gray "When Memory Goes" Vanity Fair
1985 Paul Burka "The Man in the Black Hat" Texas Monthly
1986 David Black "The Plague Years" Rolling Stone
1987 Anne Fadiman "The Liberation of Lolly and Gronky" Life
1989 Robin Wright "A Reporter at Large: Teheran Summer" The New Yorker
1990 Mark Danner "A Reporter at Large: Beyond the Mountains" The New Yorker
1991 Connie Bruck "The World of Business: Deal of the Year" The New Yorker
1992 Michael Kelly "Highway to Hell", "Rolls-Royce Revolutionaries" and "Back to the Hills" The New Republic
1993 Glenn Zorpette, John A. Adam "Iraq and the Bomb," "Halting Proliferation" IEEE Spectrum
1994 Lawrence Wright "A Reporter at Large: Remember Satan" The New Yorker
1995 Eric Schlosser "Reefer Madness", "Marijuana and the Law" The Atlantic
1996 Connie Bruck "The Politics of Perception" The New Yorker
1997 Jon Krakauer "Into Thin Air" Outside
1998 John Colapinto "The True Story of John/Joan" Rolling Stone
1999 Michael Isikoff, Evan Thomas "Clinton and the Intern", "The Secret War" and "The Tripp Trap?" Newsweek
2000 Janine di Giovanni, Sebastian Junger "Madness Visible," "Forensics of War" Vanity Fair
2001 Sean Flynn "The Perfect Fire" Esquire
2002 William Langewiesche "Crash of Egypt Air 990" The Atlantic
2003 Jeffrey Goldberg "In the Party of God" The New Yorker
2004 Evan Wright "The Killer Elite" Rolling Stone
2005 Samantha Power "Dying in Darfur" The New Yorker
2006 James Bamford "The Man Who Sold the War" Rolling Stone
2007 C. J. Chivers "The School" Esquire
2008 Peter Hessler "China's Instant Cities" National Geographic
2009 Dexter Filkins "Right at the Edge" The New York Times Magazine
2010 Sheri Fink "The Deadly Choices at Memorial" The New York Times Magazine
2011 Scott Horton "The Guantanamo 'Suicides'" Harper's Magazine
2012 Lawrence Wright "The Apostate" The New Yorker


Date Name(s) Article Magazine
2007 Jonas Bendiksen "Kibera" The Paris Review
2008 Michael Finkel and John Stanmeyer "Bedlam in the Blood: Malaria" National Geographic
2009 Mark Jenkins; photographs by Brent Stirton "Who Murdered the Virunga Gorillas?" National Geographic
2010 photographs by Pascal Maitre; text by Robert Draper "Shattered Somalia" National Geographic

Reviews and criticism

Date Name Article Magazine
2000 Tom Carson "And the Leni Riefenstahl Award for Rabid Nationalism Goes to…" (March), "The Gospel According to Homer" (July), "The Last Great Movie of the Century" (October) Esquire
2001 Anthony Lane "The Maria Problem" (February 14), "The Eye of the Land" (March 13), "The Light Side of the Moon" (April 10) The New Yorker
2002 Lee Siegel "Seize the Day" (March), "The Second Coming of Richard Yates" (July), "Cold Verities" (October) Harper's Magazine
2003 James Wolcott "Terror on the Dotted Line" (January), "U.S. Confidential" (June), "The Penance of Pirates" (October) Vanity Fair
2004 Tom Carson "Increasingly Berserk Developments" (January), "Back to the Terminator" (August), "Mr. Uncongeniality" (December) Esquire
2005 Adam Gopnik "Times Regained" (March 22), "The Big One" (August 23), "Will Power" (September 13) The New Yorker
2006 Wyatt Mason "Make It Newish" (May), "A World Unto Himself" (July), "White Knees" (October) Harper's Magazine
2007 Stuart Klawans "Down These Mean Streets" (October 23), "The Tracks of My Tears" (November 20), "Coming to America!" (December 4) The Nation
2008 Caitlin Flanagan "The Sanguine Sex" (May), "Babes in the Woods" (July&ndah;August), "No Girlfriend of Mine" (November) The Atlantic
2009 James Wood "Say What?" (April 7), "The Homecoming" (September 8), "Wounder and Wounded" (December 1) The New Yorker
2010 Elizabeth Kolbert "Green Like Me" (August 31), "Flesh of Your Flesh" (November 9), "Hosed" (November 16) The New Yorker
2011 John Jeremiah Sullivan "Mr. Lytle: An Essay" The Paris Review



(Category called "Visual Excellence" from 1970 to 1979)

See also


External links

  • NMA Searchable Database
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