Current Student Ellyn Gaydos is the 2018 Recipient of the Richard J. Margolis Award

January 8, 2019

Headshot of Ellyn GaydosCurrent student Ellyn Gaydos is the recipient of the 2018 Richard J. Margolis Award for nonfiction writers of social-justice journalism.


Richard J. "Dick" Margolis was a gifted writer able to take complex issues and give them a human, heartfelt voice. His career was remarkable and spanned many forms. Dick was a freelance journalist, a poet and children’s author, an educator, an editor and a political activist. Dick's family and friends created the Richard J. Margolis Award to celebrate his life and continue his legacy, challenging America's urban bias and speaking out on behalf of marginalized peoples.


The award combines a one-month residency at Blue Mountain Center, an acclaimed writers' and artists' colony in New York’s Adirondack Mountains, with a $5,000 prize.


Gaydos was chosen because of her ongoing effort towards awareness for the “complex yet neglected…cultural identity of rural America….She has made a living as a seasonal vegetable and pig farmhand since she was a teenager. While farming in New England she wrote newspaper articles on issues like elder care, internet accessibility and animal breeding in small towns. Long-form pieces have focused on private property and the viability of the logging industry in upstate New York, the day-to-day lives of pigs and the people who raise them, and interstate deliveries of long-haul truck drivers.”


Gaydos’s work has been published in the Columbia Journal, The Columbia Paper, The Brooklyn Eagle, Texas Review, Ninth Letter, 05401, Edible Green Mountains, and The Essex Reporter. She received the 2017 award for creative nonfiction from Ninth Letter. Gaydos is currently working on a, “a book-length piece of experimental nonfiction about an IBM microchip manufacturing facility in northern Vermont (where she worked for a winter). It highlights the largely invisible labors of white-suited workers in clean rooms that run 24 hours a day churning out chips for smartphones and satellites. It is both a speculation on the future of an increasingly post-industrial northeast and a document of the culture at one factory within that schema.”