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Background about Clay Bennett

Clay Bennett is the editorial cartoonist at the Chattanooga Times Free Press. His cartoons are syndicated by the Washington Post Writers Group.

Bennett has earned every major editorial cartoon award including the Pulitzer Prize for Editorial Cartooning in 2002. Recently, Bennett was a finalist for the 2008 Pulitzer Prize in Editorial Cartooning. Judges complimented his "distinctive cartoons marked by sharp focus and pungent simplicity." It is notable that Bennett's 2008 selection set a record for the number of times a cartoonist has been honored as a finalist in the category of editorial cartooning: six times, 1999-2003, 2008.

The high quality of Bennett's cartoons also was recognized recently with his receipt of two other prestigious awards: the 2007 RFK Journalism Award and the 2007 Thomas Nast Award from the Overseas Press Club. The judges for the Thomas Nast Award noted that "his cartoons do what all great cartoons do: make you laugh and groan at the same time." Bennett quipped, "I accept this honor not as any recognition of artistic talent, nor as a testament to any inherent wit or wisdom. I accept this award as a tribute to my neurotic insecurity and the obsessive work ethic that it inspires."

Previous awards received by Bennett include the Sigma Delta Chi Award (2001), the National Journalism Award (2002), the National Cartoonist Society's Award for Editorial Cartoons (2002), the John Fischetti Award (2001, 2005), the Overseas Press Club Award (2005), the National Headliner Award (1999, 2000, 2004), and Bennett was named 'Editorial Cartoonist of the Year' by Editor & Publisher magazine (2001).

Before joining the Chattanooga Times Free-Press in 2008, Bennett was the editorial cartoonist for The Christian Science Monitor (1998-2007). Bennett began his career as an editorial cartoonist in 1981 at the St. Petersburg (Fla.) Times. He worked there until he was fired in 1994, whereupon he spent more than three years in "professional oblivion" before being hired by The Monitor. "The Christian Science Monitor saved my career," said Bennett. "The editors there showed faith in me when few in this business seemed willing to." Before working in St. Petersburg, Bennett was a staff artist at both the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and the Fayetteville (NC) Times.

He is married to portrait artist, illustrator and cartoonist Cindy Procious, and they have three children, Matt, Ben and Sarah.


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