The Writers Guild of America, East, has named WGAE member and Minnesota Senator Al Franken as winner of its 2016 Evelyn F. Burkey award for contributions brining "honor and dignity" to writers.
Among the things the union points to in announcing the selection are Franken's contributions as a writer for Saturday Night Live (five Emmys), for Comedy Central's Indecision '92, as a satirist "challenging the Republican noise machines' march toward war in Iraq" and for his vocal advocacy for labor and progressive causes as a senator.
Also on the non-writing front were Franken's support for network neutrality rules and his convening a Hill panel in 2012 to "address the unfair working conditions facing nonfiction/”reality” television writer-producers."
The award is named for one of the co-creators of the union and its first executive director. Past recipients include some big names: Norman Lear,
Edward Albee, Joan Didion, Martin Scorsese, Sidney Lumet, Arthur Miller, and Joan Ganz Cooney.