The American Society of Magazine Editors announced Thursday that Texas Monthly received four nominations in this year’s National Magazine Awards. The Ellies, as the awards are known, are considered the Oscars of the magazine field. This ties the most nominations Texas Monthly has ever received in a single year. The magazine’s four nominations were also the most bestowed upon any publication headquartered west of the Potomac River.
Christian Wallace was recognized in the Leisure Interests category for “Long Live Honky Tonks!,” our September 2019 cover story. As features director J.K. Nickell wrote in the nominating letter, the story is “a nesting doll of a magazine package: a lyrical ode to an endangered cultural icon, wrapped in a thoughtful reflection on our evolving identity as Texans, all folded inside deeply reported, top-notch service journalism.”
Wes Ferguson was recognized in the Feature Writing category for “Angels in East Texas,” from the November 2019 issue. To report the story, Wes returned to his hometown of Kilgore, in East Texas. Twenty years earlier, a controversial staging of Angels in America: A Gay Fantasia on National Themes at Kilgore College brought national media scrutiny—and the people Wes grew up with are still feeling the aftershocks.
Texas Monthly’s beloved “Country Notes” columnist, Sterry Butcher, received a nomination in the Columns and Commentary category for three of her columns: “Lines Through the Sand,” from the March 2019 issue, about the intertwined nature of the railway and Marfa; “Thoughts on a Mixed-up Horse,” from the May 2019 issue, about hiring animal psychics to help heal a spooked horse; and “Man of Letters,” from the November 2019 issue, about a lone postman’s 133-mile route through some of Texas’s most remote outposts.
And Neena Satija’s September 2019 article, “No Defense,” was recognized in the Public Interest category. The article, which was a collaboration between Texas Monthly and the Texas Tribune, with support from the International Women’s Media Foundation’s Howard G. Buffett Fund For Women Journalists, investigated how the unchecked power of Texas judges has created conflicts of interest that cripple our system of indigent defense.
Texas Monthly has now received 78 Ellie nominations since the magazine’s inception in 1973, and has won the award 14 times. Winners for this year’s awards will be announced on March 12 in New York.