From the judges: Sometimes writers’ experiences creep into their work and make the writing more personal and more powerful. That’s exactly what happened here: While preparing to write about brain research, Jerry Grillo’s narrative shifted to first person after he suffered a cerebellar stroke and became part of the story.
Emory Health Digest, Arrival of the Bees
Writing > Feature
Institution: Emory University
Title of entry: Emory Health Digest, Arrival of the Bees
About this entry: When freelancer Jerry Grillo was hired to write an article about Emory's Brain Health Center, he had no idea he would become part of the story. After participating in Emory's Healthy Aging Study to write a first-person piece about the experience, and having an MRI of his brain, which was determined to be healthy, he had a stroke--while sitting on the couch watching Seinfeld with his wife. "It sounded like a sudden sonic swarm," he says. The resulting article is a riveting look into what happens to the brain during a cerebellar stroke, and the recovery process, providing a context to the experts he had a chance to talk to over the subsequent months of healing and recovery. When a reporter becomes part of the story in such a sudden, shocking way, it raises many questions. But it also provides a rare opportunity to dive into a subject not as an objective bystander, taking notes and dutifully recording facts, but as a flesh and blood person, with a family, fears, and yet... curiosity. What has happened to me? This is the question Grillo asked, and readers were able to vicariously go along for the ride.