The University of Iowa

NWP Alum Jennifer Percy Wins the 2017 National Magazine Award

IOWA CITY—University of Iowa Nonfiction Writing Program alum Jennifer Percy has won the 2017 National Magazine Award for Feature Writing.

Percy’s winning feature article, “I Have No Choice But to Keep Looking,” was published by the New York Times Magazine in August. The article follows two men in Japan searching for their loved ones long after the country’s 2011 earthquake and tsunami.

In honoring Percy, the American Society of Magazine Editors issued this Feature Writing Award citation: “Time stops and memory is suspended as Jennifer Percy--in spare, elegant prose--explores the impact of the 2011 tsunami on survivors who still search for those they lost.”

The award for Feature Writing honors “original, stylish storytelling.” Other 2017 nominees included George Saunders’s “Trump Days” in the New Yorker, “The Mysterious Metamorphosis of Chuck Close” by Wyl S. Hylton for The New York Times Magazine, and Rebecca Traister’s “A Woman Running for President” in New York.

Jen Percy is the author of Demon Camp and the recipient of two Pushcart Prizes, as well as a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts. She teaches creative writing at New York University, and is a graduate of the University of Iowa’s Nonfiction Writing Program.

“The Nonfiction Writing Program is a gem of an intellectual and artistic community,” Percy wrote of her time at the University of Iowa. "I arrived with a stagnant idea of nonfiction and left understanding the rich possibilities of the genre. The program helped me recognize the potential in my own work, and in the work of my peers, making me a better and more empathetic writer, reader and thinker.”

The National Magazine Awards for Print and Digital Media are sponsored by The American Society of Magazine Editors in association with the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism and are administered by ASME. Two hundred eighty publications entered the Ellie Awards this year, submitting 1,376 print and digital entries. The winners of the 2017 National Magazines Awards were announced today at the Ellie Awards Annual Gala in New York City.For the past forty years, the Nonfiction Writing Program has encouraged students to explore new approaches to creative nonfiction while also developing an appreciation for the deep history of the genre.

Iowa’s Nonfiction Writing Program is offered by the Department of English, within the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.