The Chronicle The award was given as part of the annual Mayborn Literary Nonfiction Conference, a prestigious event for writers hosted in Dallas by the University of North Texas. Its writing contests award cash prizes and publishing opportunities for authors of book manuscripts, unpublished essays and longform journalism. All honorees in the Best American Newspaper Narrative Contest will be published next year in an anthology by the university press. A panel of veteran journalists selected the winners of this year's contests, announced Saturday, Oct. 29 at an awards reception. “The Jessica Simulation” beat out stories published in The Washington Post, Los Angeles Times and Boston Globe, among other news sites. “The Jessica Simulation” follows 33-year-old Joshua Barbeau eight years after his fiance, Jessica Pereira, passed away from a rare liver disease. He uses old texts and Facebook messages to create a chatbot in her voice using cutting-edge A.I., conversing with the bot over months as he struggles to move past his grief. “The Mayborn has built and nurtured a tremendous community of writers, so I'm beyond thrilled that they recognized ‘The Jessica Simulation,'” Fagone said. “At The Chronicle, a lot of us were moved by Joshua's struggle with grief and the complexity of his relationship with the A.I., and we spent months figuring out how to do it justice. It's gratifying to know that we can connect with readers through ambitious narrative storytelling.” In April, “The Jessica Simulation” won Fagone the Deborah Howell Award for Writing Excellence , given […]
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