Katherine Boo to receive Lovejoy Award in Maine

Staff Writer
Columbus Monthly

WATERVILLE, Maine (AP) — A former Washington Post reporter who won a Pulitzer Prize for exposing dire conditions in group homes for the mentally disabled will be this year's recipient of Lovejoy Award at Colby College.

Katherine Boo, now a staff writer for the New Yorker magazine, will receive the award and deliver the Lovejoy Convocation address on Oct. 5 at Lorimar Chapel, said college President David Greene.

Greene, who was a member of the selection committee, said Boo is a journalist and author who has spent two decades exposing inequalities in today's society.

"Katherine Boo analyzes the complex interplay of social, political, and economic inequalities by exploring the everyday experiences of individuals — the gut-wrenching tragedies as well as the moments of personal triumph," he said in a statement.

In addition to her Pulitzer, earned in 2000, Boo is the recipient of a National Book Award and a MacArthur genius grant. Her 2012 book, "Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity," focused on life in slums of Mumbai, India.

The Lovejoy Award, presented each year since 1952, recognizes journalists for courage and social justice.

It is named for Elijah Parish Lovejoy, a Colby alumnus who became the nation's first martyr to freedom of the press when he was killed by a mob in 1837 for his anti-slavery editorials in Illinois.

"In choosing Ms. Boo, we have a perfect match — a journalist of purpose and courage who has taken on the vital issues of her time much the way Lovejoy took on the issues of his," said David Shribman, executive editor of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and chair of the Lovejoy selection committee.