Anne Keegan Award for excellence in writing about the common man

The Anne Keegan Award honors writers who tell stories of ordinary people in extraordinarily well-reported and well-written prose, muting their own voice to give one to the voiceless instead. Winners of this award are honored for exhibiting compassion, character and courage while telling stories that touch the human heart.

To enter: 

Submit up to three examples of work published between Jan. 1, 2021 and Dec. 31, 2021. Judges will consider any work that appears in print or on an established journalism website. The deadline is March 27, 2022. Submissions should be formatted in plain text, and sent as a word-doc attachment to annekeeganaward@gmail.com.

2020 Winner: Stacy St. Clair

Stacy St. Clair’s clear-eyed and deeply-reported stories showed the battle against the coronavirus from the perspectives of the everyday people who fought on the frontlines. The nurses in Roseland who brought in their own thermometers when the hospital ran out. The hospital maintenance crews in Little Village that spent their mornings making sanitizing wipes the overwhelmed medical center could no longer afford to buy.

The first Illinois reporter to be allowed inside local hospitals after the pandemic took hold, St. Clair described acts of exhaustion, fear and courage. In these stories and many others she’s written over the years, St. Clair impressed the judges with her eye for detail, her talent for quickly sketching a scene and capturing the strength and character of people facing extraordinary challenges.

More past recipients

About Anne

Anne Keegan first reported on the little guy while working at the City News Bureau of Chicago and honed her craft at United Press International before moving to the Chicago Tribune’s front page. Her husband, Leonard Aronson, and several of his friends are the inspiration for this award. Keegan died May 18, 2011 at 68. 

This short video about Keegan produced by her husband, Chicago documentary filmmaker Len Aronson, was shown at the inauguration of the Keegan Award in 2012 is a tribute to her exemplary career.