Syndicated columnist W. Bruce Cameron has been named 2011 Columnist of the Year by the National Society of Newspaper Columnists.
Cameron, an award-winning humor writer, best-selling author and popular speaker, will be honored at the organization’s 35th annual conference, which is being held in Detroit June 23-26, 2011.
In announcing the award, NSNC President Ben Pollock said:
“He walks the walk of so many general, feature and humor columnists, which is wanting to extend what he writes. He has succeeded with books based on his columns, each of which was published by major houses and became certified best-sellers.
“He often has told us in his speeches how many unpublished novels he has stashed in his figurative desk. His first novel to see print, A Dog’s Purpose, was a runaway success, landing on several best-seller lists, and DreamWorks Studios bought the movie rights.
“Bruce is a master of self-promotion and he understands how to work in these different genres and become successful in the marketplace. And he always has been available to share what he’s learned with his fellow columnists.
“Bruce Cameron is being honored as Columnist of the Year because of his terrific 2010 in the writing world, and in his personal world as well.”
Cameron and his fellow writer, Cathryn Michon, were married Nov. 27, 2010, in Pacific Palisades, Calif. They spent a “working honeymoon” collaborating on the screenplay for the movie.
The California-based writer is a longtime member of the columnists’ group, which was founded in 1977 and has members throughout the United States and several foreign countries. He has appeared on a number of conference programs and is a member of a panel on “Branding” at this year’s meeting, June 23-26 in Detroit.
The NSNC Columnist of the Year award was created in 2002 and awarded to syndicated columnist Leonard Pitts of The Miami Herald in recognition of his writings following the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. In 2003 the award was presented posthumously to Michael Kelly, a reporter, columnist and editor who was killed while on assignment in Iraq for The Atlantic Monthly. There has not been an award since 2004, when Dorothy Brush, a weekly columnist for the Crossville (Tenn.) Chronicle, was honored for her courageous battle against cancer, during which the NSNC member missed no deadlines.
Born in Petoskey, Mich., Cameron says he always wanted to be a writer. He tried his hand at writing a novel when he was in the fourth grade. When he was 16 he sold the first short story he ever submitted anywhere to The Kansas City Star for $50. “It was the worst thing,” he said, “because it convinced me this writing thing was going to be really easy.”
After attending Westminster College, he became a freelance writer, supporting himself with various jobs ranging from driving an ambulance, repossessing cars and selling life insurance to programming computers and analyzing financial statements. In 1995 he got the idea of starting an online Internet column. It began with six subscribers and grew to 40,000 in 52 countries.
In 1998 the Rocky Mountain News placed his column in its Home section and he soon became one of the most popular columnists in the newspaper (which is now out of business). One column, 8 Simple Rules for Dating My Teenage Daughter, was expanded and published as a book, hitting The New York Times best-seller list in a month’s time. The book was adapted for the 2002-05 hit ABC-TV series 8 Simple Rules.
Cameron tells of how an unlikely source, Oliver North, father of a teenage daughter, had him on his radio show and introduced him to Creators Syndicate, which picked up h is column in October 2001. Creators distributes comics and columns to some 2,400 newspapers and Internet sites worldwide.
He followed his first book’s success with two other humor books: How To Remodel a Man and 8 Simple Rules for Marrying My Daughter. With A Dog’s Purpose still selling well, Cameron has a second novel, Emory’s Gift, scheduled for publication in August.
In 2006, he won the Robert Benchley Award for Humor, which was judged by Dave Barry. That same year, the National Society of Newspaper Columnists selected Cameron as the No. 1 Humor Columnist in Newspapers with over 100,000 circulation.
Cameron summed up his thoughts on writing on a website devoted to A Dog’s Purpose:
“I’ve been a writer my whole life, but any material success has come to me rather late in life. There are a lot of unpublished books taking up storage space in my closet, a lot of rejected manuscripts and screenplays gathering dust. I’d like to think that, with each failure, I learned more about my chosen craft and brought myself closer to being the sort of author who could write a book that is (I’ll say it because I believe it) as important as A Dog’s Purpose.”
Cameron will receive his award at the NSNC 2011 conference at a dinner Friday evening, June 24. The presentation will be made by former NSNC President Suzette Martinez Standring, who featured Cameron in her book, The Art of Column Writing: Insider Secrets from Art Buchwald, Dave Barry, Arianna Huffington, Pete Hamill and Other Great Columnists.