In New York City last night at the National Magazine Awards gala – the literal Oscars of magazine writing, awarded by the American Society of Magazine Editors – five publication finalists were read off in the profile writing category. They were Vanity Fair, The New Yorker, National Geographic, New York Magazine andâ€¦ (gasp!) Cincinnati Magazine.
I donâ€™t know if that blows your mind like it blows mine, but, folks, that is a really, really big deal. The article nominated by a group of out-of-town, national-caliber judges was by freelancer writer and former Cincinnati CityBeat columnist (see â€œYour Negro Tour Guideâ€œ) Kathy Y. Wilson, a black lesbian, about (and this is the part that kills me) Bill Cunningham, a white, conservative, loud-mouth radio talk show host. The article was titled â€œIs Bill Cunningham a Great American?â€œ
She did not win, but thatâ€™s not the point. Just getting nominated – and in that field of contestants, my God – is just simply an achievement unlike many I have seen here in a long, long time. So, no, no trophy, but I think she deserves a big congratulations nonetheless.
The article, by the way, which ran in Cincinnati Magazineâ€™s November 2006 issue, is truly a great piece of writing. You might want to give it a read.
Kathy, thank you again for bringing a little pride and a different voice to our city. I love the way you do it, with your in-your-face, sometimes abrasive, straight-talk style – even if not everyone does – and I hope you keep it up. Congratulations.