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Gallatin Alumna Receives 2022 Whiting Creative Nonfiction Grant

Emily Dufton (BA ’04) is one of nine writers to receive funding to complete their books in progress

Nov 1, 2022

Emily Dufton; Photo Credit: Mike Kepka

Writer and historian Emily Dufton (BA ’04) has been awarded a 2022 Whiting Creative Nonfiction Grant to complete work on her manuscript, Addiction, Inc.: Medication-Assisted Treatment and the War on Drugs, which is under contract with the University of Chicago Press. 

The Whiting Creative Nonfiction Grant assists multi-year book projects requiring large amounts of deep and focused thinking, research, and writing at a crucial point mid-process—after significant work has been accomplished but when further support can make a difference in the work.

Addiction, Inc. considers how medication-assisted treatment (MAT) for heroin addiction was conceived in the 1970s as a liberal initiative to provide a medicalized “off-ramp” from the burgeoning war on drugs. However, over the past fifty years, MAT has degraded from an idealized dream of socialized healthcare that treated addiction as a disease to a largely private, predatory system that emphasizes profit over rehabilitation–even as the opioid epidemic continues unchecked and more than 100,000 Americans died of overdoses in 2021 alone.

The Whiting judges noted that “Dufton takes a deep dive into the history of opioid addiction and treatment, writing with clarity, rigor, and a contagious sense of urgency . . . offering a comprehensive view of the governmental failures and corporate greed that have led to the privatization of a treatment that has failed to live up to its promise of moving patients closer to recovery. Her book masterfully weaves together science, policy, and individual stories to illuminate a crucial facet of America’s opioid epidemic.”

Dufton’s manuscript was recognized in 2022 with a Robert B. Silvers Foundation Grant for Work in Progress and in 2021 with a J. Anthony Lukas Prize Project Award from Columbia Journalism School and the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard. She is the author of Grass Roots: The Rise and Fall and Rise of Marijuana in America (Basic Books, 2017). Dufton received her PhD in American Studies from George Washington University. She graduated with a BA from Gallatin in 2004 with a concentration in “Black Humor, Cynicism, and the Lack of the Female Voice.” 

“I love that Emily has found an audience and received real recognition for her work,” says Dufton’s former Gallatin adviser, Karen Hornick. “Gallatin helped her find her voice and her niche.”

Every year since the prize was founded in 2016, the Whiting Foundation has awarded $40,000 to writers in the process of completing a book of “deeply researched and imaginatively composed nonfiction.” Grants encourage original and ambitious projects by giving recipients the additional means to do exacting research and devote time to composition. Alongside Dufton are eight other awardees: Atossa Araxia Abrahamian, Wes Enzinna, Ekow Eshun, Patricia Evangelista, Brooke Jarvis, May Jeong, Mathelinda Nabugodi, and Alejandra Oliva. Previous awardees of the grant include New York Times bestsellers, Pulitzer Prize winners, and winners of the Hitchens Prize.

To view a digital chapbook featuring excerpts from the grantees’ works-in-progress, go to links to videos of the grantees discussing their projects can be found on the Whiting Foundation site.