Applications for 2020 are now closed. Thank you for your interest in Matthew Power Literary Reporting Award.
Matthew Power was an award-winning journalist who reported empathetically on the human condition. He died in March 2014, while on assignment in Uganda.
To learn about Power’s body of work, visit his website.
For a list-in-progress of contributors to the Award, please visit the Donors page.
A video of a memorial reading of Power’s work at the Carter Institute is here.
About the Award
The Matthew Power Literary Reporting Award is a grant of $12,500 to support the work of a promising early-career nonfiction writer on a story that uncovers truths about the human condition. In 2020 we will again offer a runner-up prize of $4,000.
Offered for the first time in 2015, the Award has been endowed by individuals and organizations touched by the life and work of Matthew Power, a wide-roving and award-winning journalist who sought to live and share the experience of the individuals and places on which he was reporting. Power, a longtime friend of the Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute, died in March 2014, while on assignment in Uganda.
The award proceeds from the recognition that many important stories need to be reported from afar, and that publications do not always have the resources to send a writer where the story is. The money need not be used exclusively for travel, but we expect that most successful applications will include such expenses.
A panel of NYU journalism professors, outside writers, and editors will review the proposals. Finalists may be asked to interview in person or by Skype.
The judges will be interested in perpetuating Power’s legacy, as his former editor Roger Hodge put it, of “strong, character-driven narratives with detailed scene writing and lyrical description.” Power was always open to the absurdity that often attends politics and international affairs; he was always searching, as he put it, for “the human truth beneath the sorry facts.” Power’s ultimate ambition, he added, was literary beauty.
That said, judges will be looking for a writer as singular in his or her own approach as Power was in his.
The award will not fund proposals to report on armed conflicts where journalists are already imperiled, nor projects that are mainly investigatory. The winner will normally receive visiting scholar privileges at NYU, including library access.
View Past Winners of the Award
Yi-Ling Liu and Alexander Clapp (runner-up), 2019
Jessica Camille Aguirre and Ben Mauk (runner-up), 2018
Jeff Winkler and Alison Stine (runner-up), 2017
Summer Brennan, 2016
Susana Ferreira, 2015
View published work made possible with the assistance of the Award:
How a Dating App Helped a Generation of Chinese Come Out of the Closet
March 5, 2020
by Yi-Ling Liu
The Troubling Business of Bounty Hunting
July 1, 2019
by Jeff Winkler
Australia Is Deadly Serious About Killing Millions of Cats
April 25, 2019
by Jessica Camille Aguirre
Can China Turn the Middle of Nowhere Into the Center of the World Economy?
January 29, 2019
by Ben Mauk
Decriminalization: A Love Story
November 1, 2017
by Susana Ferreira