As every editor knows, writers are thin-skinned, ungrateful, egomaniacs. Much as I hate to admit it, I’m not the exception. So in a small effort to redeem myself, I’d like to thank the editors who helped me out in the past year, which was a rewarding one. The editors who kept me from embarrassing myself in print don’t get awards, but I was lucky to get a few in 2013, and those awards belong to my editors as well. So let me just thank them here publicly.
At the top of the list is David Rowell at the Washington Post Magazine, one of my favorite editors in the world. Of the three stories I’ve done with him, all have gotten some sort of recognition, including two this fall: The Fallout, about nuclear tourism, which got the Bronze Lowell Thomas Award, and The Reunion, about going back to Tanzania after 15 years, which was selected as “Notable Travel Writing” in the Best American Travel Writing 2013. Both are the kind of human stories I love to tell and that David knows how to work with so well.
Also mentioned as a notable story in the Best American Essays 2013 was The Fall of the Creative Class. For that story’s very existence, I have Katie Eggers to thank. In Thirty Two Magazine she has almost single-handedly created an amazing cultural space for that piece and many others to exist. By this point in my career, I’m fully aware of just how rare such spaces are and of how lucky we are to have Katie here doing what she does. (No, Europe, you can’t have her back.)
Porter Fox is the brains (and brawn) behind the new tablet magazine Nowhere, which is beautiful and has become one of the bastions of narrative travel writing since World Hum’s metabolism slowed. Porter is a veteran in the magazine business (I remember pitching him a story at Powder circa 2000) and I was lucky he was willing to work over my rough-hewn, orphaned story on Djibouti, The Crossing, into something palatable. It subsequently won a Silver Lowell Thomas Award and was on the list of list of “Notable Travel Writing” in the Best American Travel Writing 2013.
There are many other editors I worked with this year who I should thank as well, namely the wonderful Jenny Llakmani at The Rotarian who lets me range over wider territory than I have any right to. And Christine Fennessy, who hung in there for two grueling years working on a monster of a story that will appear in Runner’s World in February of 2014. And lastly, but not leastly, Kevin Larimer at Poets & Writers, who has been hammering my stories into shape for more than a decade now.
Thanks to you all for the hard work. It’s appreciated far more than you know.