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Sam Quinones

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Year of Award: 
2018

Sam Quinones is a Los Angeles-based freelance journalist and author of three books of narrative nonfiction. His latest book is Dreamland: The True Tale of America’s Opiate Epidemic, for which he traveled across the United States. Dreamland recounts twin stories of drug marketing in the 21st Century. A pharmaceutical corporation touts its legal new opiate prescription painkiller as nonaddictive. Meanwhile, immigrants from a small town in Nayarit, Mexico, devise a method for retailing black-tar heroin in the US and take that system nationwide, riding a wave of addiction to prescription pills from coast to coast. The collision of those two forces has led to America’s deadliest drug scourge in modern times.

Dreamland won a National Book Critics Circle award for the best nonfiction book of 2015. It was also selected as one of the best books of 2015 by Amazon.com, Seattle Times, Boston Globe, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Entertainment Weekly, Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg Business.

Quinones is formerly a reporter with the L.A. Times, where he worked for 10 years (2004-2014). He is a veteran reporter on immigration, gangs, drug trafficking and the border.