Surgeon-Poet Hall doubles in LA book awards

Dr Neal Hall, a hit at last year’s Ubud Writers Festival, has scooped up more awards. The eye surgeon’s poetry collection Nigger for Life has won both the poetry prize and grand prize at the Los Angeles Book Festival. Hall will collect his honors at Hollywood’s legendary Roosevelt Hotel on Friday.

Hall also won the poetry prize at last year’s New York Book Festival and New England Book Festival, as well as the Ubud Festival’s poetry slam. He extends the tradition of acclaimed poets with day jobs that includes Walt Whitman, Wallace Stevens, and fellow physician William Carlos Williams.

Title notwithstanding, Hall asserts Nigger for Life isn’t about race, but about freedom, told from the only perspective he’s got. Hall’s poems are both lyrical and extraordinarily powerful, well worth reading and richly deserving of their accolades.

Totally globalized native New Yorker and former broadcast news producer Muhammad Cohen is author of Hong Kong On Air, a novel set in his adopted hometown during the 1997 handover about television news, love, betrayal, high finance, and cheap lingerie. See his bio, online archive and more at; follow him on Facebook and Twitter @MuhammadCohen.