The Riggs Blog
Neal Shusterman: A Recipient of the Austen Riggs Center 2016 Erikson Institute Prize for Excellence in Mental Health Media
- Benedict Carey, a reporter covering brain and behavior topics at The New York Times
- Neal Shusterman, a New York Times bestselling novelist, screenwriter, and television writer
- Steve Silberman, an award-winning science writer whose work has appeared in Wired, The New Yorker, Salon, and Nature
The recipients will be honored at a Media Colloquy, free and open to the public, at the Austen Riggs Center on Saturday, August 20, beginning at 1:00 in the afternoon.
Today, we’re taking a closer look at prize recipient Neal Shusterman.
An avid reader and writer from a young age, Shusterman credits his ninth-grade English teacher with setting him on his current path. “That’s when writing emerged above all my other interests as my driving passion,” he writes on his website. This, coupled with his family’s move from Brooklyn to Mexico City when he was sixteen proved to be an important and formative experience. As Shusterman relates, “Having an international experience changed my life, giving me a fresh perspective on the world, and a sense of confidence I might not have had otherwise.”
Shusterman went on to the University of California, Irvine (UCI), where he studied psychology and theater, and continued to write. From UCI, Shusterman’s career rocketed forward and he has become a New York Times bestselling novelist with more than thirty novels for young adults – some in production as feature films – and he has won numerous awards including the 2015 National Book Award for Young People’s Literature for his book Challenger Deep. Commenting on Challenger Deep, Media Colloquy curator, essayist, and author Joshua Wolf Shenk remarked, “Neal has authored a stunning novel drawing on the experience of his son’s mental illness.” Shusterman is set to release the first book in his new series Scythe in the fall of 2016.
Shusterman, along with the other prize recipients, will give a presentation about his work and its relationship to mental health issues at the Media Colloquy. Continuing education credits will be offered to MDs, PhDs, PsyDs, and social workers. This event is free and open to the public. Seating is limited; advance registration is recommended. To register, please call  931.5230 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.