Amy Ellis Nutt has been awarded the 2011 Pulitzer Prize for Feature Writing.
From The Star-Ledger:
“Nutt’s story, ‘The Wreck of the Lady Mary,’ ran as a 20-page special section in November 2010. Nutt and videographer/graphic artist Andre Malok investigated the mysterious sinking of a fishing boat off the coast of New Jersey in 2009. The pair spent more than seven months reporting the project and, in addition to the newspaper stories, Malok produced a 24-minute documentary.
“We are honored and grateful,” Star-Ledger editor Kevin Whitmer said. “Amy had a passion for this project from the beginning, and I’d like to think the judges recognized her relentless reporting just as much as the writing.
“And in Andre, she had a partner who pushed her, challenged her and helped her deliver a landmark set of stories.”
Publisher Richard Vezza called it “a great day for The Star-Ledger and all the people who work here. The Pulitzer prize is something every newspaper dreams of winning. It’s an honor for me to be associated with such a talented and committed group of journalists.”
The Star-Ledger spent months investigating the sinking of a Cape May-based scallop boat that left six dead and spared just one crew member. This five-chapter series was printed in a 20-page special Sunday Star-Ledger section and was presented over four days on NJ.com.”
Nutt’s “Shadows Bright As Glass” released
Nutt, a reporter for The Star-Ledger, released her first non-fiction book, “Shadows Bright as Glass,” on April 5, 2011. Get your copy today.
What produces creative genius in someone? In most cases, the question is unanswerable. But for Jon Sarkin, the answer was clear. It was a trick of nature — a cruel trick, a tiny accident inside his brain that unmoored the happy life of a chiropractor and sent his mind on a restless voyage.
About the book:
On a sunny fall afternoon in 1988, Jon Sarkin was playing golf when, without a whisper of warning, his life changed forever. As he bent down to pick up his golf ball, something strange and massive happened inside his head; part of his brain seemed to unhinge, to split apart and float away.
For an utterly inexplicable reason, a tiny blood vessel, thin as a thread, deep inside the folds of his gray matter had suddenly shifted ever so slightly, rubbing up against his acoustic nerve. Any noise now caused him excruciating pain.
After months of seeking treatment to no avail, in desperation Sarkin resorted to radical deep-brain surgery, which seemed to go well until during recovery his brain began to bleed and he suffered a major stroke. When he awoke, he was a different man.
Before the stroke, he was a calm, disciplined chiropractor, a happily married husband and father of a newborn son. Now he was transformed into a volatile and wildly exuberant obsessive, seized by a manic desire to create art, devoting virtually all his waking hours to furiously drawing, painting, and writing poems and letters to himself, strangely detached from his wife and child, and unable to return to his normal working life.
His sense of self had been shattered, his intellect intact but his way of being drastically altered. His art became a relentless quest for the right words and pictures to unlock the secrets of how to live this strange new life. And what was even stranger was that he remembered his former self.
In a beautifully crafted narrative, award-winning journalist and Pulitzer Prize winner Amy Ellis Nutt interweaves Sarkin’s remarkable story with a fascinating tour of the history of and latest findings in neuroscience and evolution that illuminate how the brain produces, from its web of billions of neurons and chaos of liquid electrical pulses, the richness of human experience that makes us who we are.
Nutt brings vividly to life pivotal moments of discovery in neuroscience, from the shocking “rebirth” of a young girl hanged in 1650 to the first autopsy of an autistic savant’s brain, and the extraordinary true stories of people whose personalities and cognitive abilities were dramatically altered by brain trauma, often in shocking ways.