Barrett Brown Named a Finalist for National Magazine Award

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This is a little crazy. And delightful. Here’s what has happened: in 2011, I wrote a story about Barrett Brown that won a National Magazine Award. (An NMA, for those not in the biz, is like a Pulitzer of magazine journalism. (Even though they recently began awarding Pulitzers for magazines, the NMAs are still the country’s highest magazine award.)) Then I spoke at Barrett’s sentencing hearing, and he still got sent to prison for 63 months. But prison, in some ways, has been good to Barrett. He started collecting stories and writing about his Kafkaesque life behind bars in a column for D Magazine called “The Barrett Brown Review of Arts and Letters and Jail.” It was a pretty dang good column. So good that last summer Glenn Greenwald’s Intercept stole it away from us. No hard feelings. We were happy that Barrett’s work had found a larger audience. Well, yesterday, Barrett’s column was named as a finalist in the NMA’s Columns and Commentary category. Some fun trivia about this development:

My story about Barrett was the last one to win in the Profile category, which got killed the following year (kind of like retiring a jersey, is the way I look at it). And while I’ve spent absolutely no time researching this claim, never in the history of the American Society of Magazine Editors (which oversees the NMAs) has a story won an award and then the subject of that story has also won an award. There is only one way this loop can be completed: Barrett wins an NMA and then he writes a story about me. Start looking forward to it now.

And one last thing: one of the three columns for which Barrett is named a finalist is subtitled “Stop Sending Me Jonathan Franzen Novels.” In it, he makes sport of Franzen in a way that is top notch and totally worth an NMA nomination. Franzen is also an NMA finalist. So yeah. Crazy and delightful.


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  • JamieT

    Thank you for this, Tim. No one embodies the soul of Dallas writing better than Barrett Brown.

  • claytonauger


  • I should add that I talked to Barrett’s mother yesterday. She was pretty excited by the news. She says that Barrett’s column for the Intercept hasn’t published recently because his agent is keeping him busy with a book proposal. Also, Barrett is playing a lot of Dungeons & Dragons with the other guys in prison. We all know how much time D&D can suck up.

  • svp

    You cannot prevent us.

  • Cynthia McKinney PhD

    I became a Barrett Brown intimate when, upon his sentencing, my librarian freaked at the thought of my use of WikiLeaks producing the same outcome for her, me, and all associated with my dissertation on Hugo Chavez that used the same Stratfor and U.S. diplomatic cables that should be made public, anyway. At that point, the decision was made to completely eradicate all WikiLeaks references and a basic rewrite of three of the chapters was in order. I wrote about and protested my ordeal in the Preface of my dissertation which can be found here: Now, I want to read all the Barrett Brown I can find!

    • aseparatepiece

      Send him a letter. He’d probably be glad to get it. His address:

      Barrett Brown #45047-177

      FCI Three Rivers

      P.O. Box 4200

      Three Rivers, TX 78071

  • fuster

    good luck and may Mr Brown get all the medical and psychiatric care that he so greatly needs.