Fresno State Alum Mark Arax nominated for two James Beard Awards

Mark Arax by Joel Pickford and "A Kingdom from Dust" screenshot from

Department of Media, Communications and Journalism alumnus and Fresno resident Mark Arax has been recognized for his work in literary nonfiction by the prestigious James Beard Foundation.

Arax’s story about the agricultural empire of Stewart Resnick “A Kingdom From Dust” was announced as a James Beard Award finalist for both Feature Reporting and the MFK Fisher Distinguished Writing Award — the only double nominee for this year. Arax’s story first appeared last year in The California Sunday Magazine and has also been named a finalist for Feature Writing in the National Magazine Awards.

Stewart Resnick is the biggest farmer in the United States, a fact he has tried to keep hidden while he has shaped what we eat, transformed California's landscape, and ruled entire towns.

The nominated story is part of Arax’s upcoming book, “The Dreamt Land: Chasing Water and Dust Across California”, to be released in May by Knopf publishing.

“Arax has written about rural California for many years. This is his crowning achievement, a work of reportage that is also a work of literature. It belongs on the short list of great books about the state,” said David Ulin, former book review editor of the Los Angeles Times.

Mark Arax by Joel Pickford

An author, journalist and former staffer of the Los Angeles Times and The California Sunday Magazine, Arax’s writings on California and the West have received numerous awards for literary nonfiction.

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