The Sidney Award is a monthly journalism award awarded to journalists for a piece of work published in an American magazine, newspaper, blog or TV show. A $500 honorarium is also awarded to each recipient. This prize is sponsored by the Sidney Hillman Foundation.
The award was founded in memory of the late Neilma Gantner and is awarded to writers at any career stage. Applicants must submit a three thousand word short story that is powerful and original. For non-subscribers, the entry fee is $20. Finalists are selected by judges who review the entries.
Mary Bottari, a reporter for the Center for Media and Democracy, has won the Sidney Prize twice. She is credited with spearheading the Center’s ALEC Exposed investigation and has contributed to many media outlets. Her writing has appeared in The New York Times and other publications. In addition to the Sidney Prize, she has received many awards including the Malcolm Robertson Foundation’s Literary Achievement Award and a National Humanities Medal.
Earlier this year, Overland’s Neilma Sidney Short Story Prize awarded a prize of $4000 to writer Jenah Shaw. Her winning story was about a new woman in a small city who becomes a houseguest. It was selected from a shortlist of eight stories. As one of the prize winners, Shaw will receive publication in the Overland journal.
In addition to the prize, recipients of the Sidney Award will be given a certificate. All recipients of the prize are chosen by judges based on the quality of their work. They must write in a style that is accessible to an American audience. To qualify, they must submit their work no later than March 15th. If their work is published on a news site, they must make sure their article is in the public interest.
This year’s judges selected eight short stories from over 500 entries. Each of the stories was written by an independent author and was judged based on the writing, editing, and overall quality of the work. Several notable names were among the judges, including Mark Rykoff, Jayati Vora, Alex Newman, Richard Rowley and Tate Strickland.
The Sidney Prize was started in 2012 to honor writers who write about the South. Previous award winners include Greg Palast, who has written several New York Times bestsellers. He is also known for his work uncovering voter suppression tactics.
Other honorees included Elisbeth Passmore, who won Postcard from Nowheresville; Alan Sincic, who won Westernport Crossing; and Jim Crow Returns, a documentary film by Steve Melendez, Alex Newman and John Thomason. Along with its award, the Sidney Prize also sponsored a bottle of union-made wine.
The Sidney Prize also sponsors the Heather Dawn Reynolds Equity Award, which recognizes commitment to diversity. Since its inception, the prize has been awarded to writers who extend the scope of writing about the South.
To be eligible for the Sidney Prize, an author must write a piece of journalism that addresses economic injustice. The judges review the work in light of how it exposes social inequities.