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2016 Helen Bernstein Book Award Finalists


Jill Leovy Wins 2016 Helen Bernstein Book Award for Excellence in Journalism

Jill Leovy

Ghettoside: A True Story of Murder in America  by Jill Leovy
(Spiegel & Grau, New York)

Los Angeles Times reporter Jill Leovy examines the country’s murder epidemic and the long-standing plague of black homicide in this NY Times best seller, which follows the murder of a young black man in South Los Angeles and the determined team of detectives investigating the crime. Utilizing a literary writing style, Leovy brings new insights to the subject of homicides in America, evaluating history, race, violence and justice.

View the video and photo gallery of the 2016 event or read the press release




Killing a King

Killing a King  by Dan Ephron 
(W.W. Norton & Company, New York)

Longtime Middle East reporter Dan Ephron provides this important perspective to today’s world by relating the parallel stories of Rabin and his stalker Yigal Amir over the two years leading up to the assassination, as one of them planned political deals he hoped would lead to peace, and the other plotted murder.



Strangers Drowning

Strangers Drowning  by Larissa MacFarquhar
(Penguin Press, New York)

New Yorker writer Larissa MacFarquhar examines the psychological roots and existential dilemmas motivating those rare individuals who are practicing lives of extreme ethical commitment. The book shares the deeply intimate and in-depth stories of people who devote themselves fully to bettering the lives of strangers—even when it comes at great personal cost.


The Prize

The Prize  by Dale Russakoff
(Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, New York)

Reporter Dale Russakoff uses her extensive access to Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, then Newark Mayor Cory Booker, and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie to tell the definitive story of Zuckerberg’s $100 million quest to transform and greatly improve the debilitated Newark, NJ public schools.


One of Us

One of Us  by Åsne Seierstad
(Farrar Straus and Giroux, New York)

On July 22, 2011, Anders Behring Breivik detonated a bomb outside the Norwegian prime minister’s office in central Oslo, killing eight people. He then moved to a youth camp on the wooded island of Utøya, where he killed 69 more, most of them teenage members of the country’s governing Labour Party. Åsne Seierstad’s One of Us examines violent extremism and how a society copes with homegrown evil in this definitive story of this terrible day and its reverberations, still felt today.

Author Talks 

2016 Finalists

The Bernstein Award highlights in depth, investigative reporting and journalism and helps to raise public awareness about significant world events and important issues. Below are a series of interviews with four extraordinary journalists that have all garnered acclaim this past year for stories that span the globe. 

Conversation  with Dale Russakoff

Read the press release to learn more.