Monday, May 12, 2008

Best Short-Form obit about an Average Joe

Carol Smith of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer won the Society of Professional Obituary Writers 2008 Award in Category #4: Best short-form obituary (800 words and under) about an Average Joe or non- celebrity with her story, Dying vet planned a final mission.

It's the story of retired Air Force Lt. Col. Rob Lutz, a former Air Commando pilot, who with less than 72 hours to live orchestrated a plan from his hospital bed that allowed him to take a final flight.

Carol told us: After this story ran, I heard from readers around the country who were moved by this man's efforts to accomplish his final wish against the odds. I think the response reflects a universal desire we have to meet fate on our own terms.

Carol Smith is an enterprise reporter and narrative writing coach for the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, where she has covered a variety of beats, including science, medicine, and the working poor since 1997.

She is also a frequent obit-writer for the paper, where she also helped launch the paper's "People" team to get more profiles, obits and narrative stories about extraordinary "ordinary" people in the paper.

The PEN USA Literary Foundation, the American Association of Sunday and Features Editors, the Society of Professional Journalists, Best of the West and others, have recognized her work nationally and regionally. She has also been recognized for her investigative work, and was a co-finalist for Harvard University's Goldsmith Prize in Investigative Journalism.

Her work was a 2006 finalist for the PEN Literary awards, and was also included in "The Best Creative Nonfiction," published June, 2007, by W. W. Norton & Company.

Prior to joining the Seattle P-I, Smith freelanced for the Los Angeles Times, Redbook magazine and other publications.

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