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Alex Kotlowitz

Chicago Writer Alex Kotlowitz to Serve as Judge for the Nick Adams Contest

Article posted January 28, 2010

Alex Kotlowitz

Alex Kotlowitz

Chicago author and journalist Alex Kotlowitz has agreed to serve as the professional judge for the 2010 Nick Adams Short Story Contest. Kotlowitz has written three books, numerous articles, audio essays, and a play.

Held annually since 1973, the Nick Adams Contest celebrates Ernest Hemingway's young hero and the creative impulse of ACM students. The contest offers a prize of $1,000, given by an anonymous donor, for the best story by a student at an ACM college. The results of the competition will be announced in early May.

Kotlowitz's books, There Are No Children Here: The Story of Two Boys Growing Up in the Other America (1991), The Other Side of the River: A Story of Two Towns, a Death, and America's Dilemma (1998), and Never a City So Real (2004), are drawn from everyday observations of "America's vexed relationship with race" and the "drama of ordinary lives on either side of a divide."

The New York Public Library chose There Are No Children Here as one of the 150 most important books of the 20th Century. He received the Carl Sandburg Award, a Christopher Award, and the Helen Bernstein Award for There Are No Children Here. It was also adapted as a made-for-television-movie starring Oprah Winfrey.

Alex Kotlowitz grew up in New York City and graduated from Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut. After graduation, he worked at a cattle ranch before accepting a reporter position at The Lansing Star.

He settled in Chicago 27 years ago when he began covering social issues and urban affairs for the Chicago bureau of The Wall Street Journal. After nearly ten years with The Wall Street Journal, Kotlowitz spent four years writing The Other Side of the River.

During the last quarter century, he has been writing about "America from the ground up, exploring the fissures in the landscape." He currently teaches writing at Northwestern University. 

Kotlowitz regularly contributes to The New York Times Magazine and public radio's This American Life. His work has appeared in The New Yorker, The Atlantic, The Washington Post, the Chicago Tribune, Rolling Stone, and The New Republic, as well as on PBS (Frontline) and NPR (All Things Considered and Morning Edition).

During his journalism career, Kotlowitz has received many honors, including the George Foster Peabody Award (radio), the Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award (print), the George Polk Award (television), and the Thurgood Marshall Award (print). The Other Side of the River received the Chicago Tribune’s Heartland Prize for Nonfiction and the Great Lakes Booksellers Award for Nonfiction.

Kotlowitz also co-authored a play, An Unobstructed View, with Amy Dorn that premiered in Chicago in June 2005.