the Atlantic Staff writer Jennifer Senior won the 2022 Pulitzer Prize for Feature Writing. She received journalism’s highest honor for her remarkable September 2021 cover story, “What Bobby McIlvaine Left Behind,” which dealt with the heartbreaking loss of a family in the 9/11 attacks and their struggle to move on. something else. It is Atlantic‘s second Pulitzer Prize, after Ed Yong’s 2021 Pulitzer for his reporting on the coronavirus pandemic.
Pulitzer’s board cited the “unwavering portrait of a family dealing with loss in the 20 years since 9/11, masterfully weaving the author’s personal connection to history with sensitive reporting that reveal the long reach of sorrow”.
“What Bobby McIlvaine left behind,” said a charming and ambitious young man named Bobby McIlvaine, who attended a conference at the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. Like thousands of other Americans that day, he never returned home. On the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, Senior recounted the fallout from the death of her friend Bobby, writing that she had spent years since watching “as everyone in the blast radius of this horrible event was trying to make sense of it”. Her story, about love and heartbreak, examined a family’s struggle to move on. Through interviews with Bobby’s parents, brother, then-girlfriend and friends, Senior described how his family and friends moved from praying together for Bobby to be okay with dealing with the traumatic loss. in different ways. Their grief separated them and created unresolved tension about what really happened in the weeks and months after 9/11.
The Pulitzer Prize follows the senior win in the Feature Writing category at the 2022 National Magazine Awards, the American Society of Magazine Editors’ annual honors. Atlantic also won the highest honor of overall excellence for a news, sports and entertainment publication at the 2022 National Magazine Awards.
The Pulitzers further recognized the extraordinary work of Atlantic; Writer Sophie Gilbert was named a finalist in the Critics category; freelance writer Julian Aguon’s “To Hell With Drowning” is a Commentary finalist; and the work of Zeynep Tufekci for Atlantic and The New York Times also made her a finalist in Commentary.
“It’s a wonderful time for writers who have earned this well-deserved recognition,” said Jeffrey Goldberg, editor-in-chief of Atlantic. “Jennifer’s story, her first for Atlantic, is one of the most sophisticated pieces of magazine journalism we have ever encountered, a miracle of storytelling, told with unparalleled skill, empathy and eloquence. Scott Stossel, its brilliant editor, has already noted the symphonic quality of this story and the mastery with which Jennifer managed to report, write and structure it. Scott, of course, deserves credit for much of our best work, including Jennifer’s article.
Senior joined Atlantic as an editor in 2021. Prior to that, she was a columnist for the New York Times editorial page. Prior to joining Opinion, Senior was one of Time‘s three daily book reviews. She spent almost 20 years as an editor for New York magazine, writing profiles and cover stories on politics, social science and mental health. Senior is also the author of the hugely popular book Joy and No Fun: The Paradox of Modern Parenthood.