2021 Winner

Caleb Gayle

Caleb Gayle

2021 Winner: Caleb Gayle

Caleb J. Gayle is the winner of the 2021 Matthew Power Literary Reporting Award. Gayle is author of a forthcoming book from Riverhead Books, which examines the true story of Cow Tom, a former Black chief of the Creek Nation, and offers a narrative account of how many Black Native Americans, including Cow Tom’s descendants, were divided and marginalized by white supremacy in America.

Gayle is a former U.S. News fellow at the Guardian, as well as a former fellow at the New America Foundation and Demos. His writing has appeared or is forthcoming in the New York Times and the New York Times Magazine, the Atlantic, the Guardian, the Three Penny Review, the Harvard Review, Pacific Standard, the New Republic, the Boston Globe, Los Angeles Review of Books, the Root, and the Daily Beast, among others.

Gayle has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Oklahoma, a master’s degree from Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government, an MBA from Harvard Business School, and an MSc from Oxford.

He will use the grant from the Matthew Power Literary Reporting Award to research and write a long-form article about hidden lives in the forgotten Black communities of middle America.


The $12,500 annual award was established to commemorate Matthew Power, a wide-roving and award-winning journalist who reported empathetically on the human condition. Matt died in March 2014, while on assignment in Uganda. An endowment fund has been established to make the award possible in perpetuity. To date, more than 650 friends, family, and journalism colleagues have contributed.

Over 80 applications were received for this year’s award. NYU’s Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute hosts and administers the award.