ALT-CARTOONIST JEN SORENSEN is very honored to have just won a Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award. It is the congratulatory call that came with the prize, however, that wowed her.

“I have to say that getting that phone call from Ethel Kennedy was one of the greatest thrills of my career,” Sorensen tells Comic Riffs on Tuesday. “I happened to be in a carpet store at the time, and completely lost my ability to focus on carpets after that.”

The Austin, Texas-based writer/artist won for cartoons that she created for Kaiser Health News, the Austin Chronicle,, Ms. Magazine and the Progressive.

“The RFK is a profoundly meaningful award for me — it's a connection to a wonderful historical legacy,” Sorensen, who was a Herblock Prize finalist last year, tells ‘Riffs. “It's especially nice to be recognized for the long-form comic I drew for Kaiser Health News about the health care challenges faced by self-employed people ("An Open Letter to the Supreme Court About Health Insurance"). That was a personal piece that I felt very strongly about.”

(courtesy of JEN SORENSEN 2012 /.)

The Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights announced a Book Award winner, and awards for eight professional and three student journalists.

The prizes, according to the center, are given to recognize “outstanding reporting on issues that reflect Robert Kennedy’s dedication to human rights and social justice, and his belief in the power of individual action.”

All winners get a cash gift and a bust of Robert F. Kennedy created by Robert Berks. The awards will presented during a Sept. 26 ceremony at Washington’s Newseum.

[JEN SORENSEN: The Comic Riffs Interview]