The Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute has named Caleb J. Gayle, a journalist who writes frequently about race and identity, the winner of its seventh Matthew Power Literary Reporting Award.

Photo Caleb Gayle
Caleb J. Gayle

Gayle, the Award’s Seventh Recipient, Will Focus on the Hidden Lives of Black Communities

New York University’s Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute has named Caleb J. Gayle, a journalist who writes frequently about race and identity, the winner of its seventh Matthew Power Literary Reporting Award. 

Gayle will use the grant to pursue a story about hidden lives in the forgotten Black communities of middle America.

The Carter Institute established the award in the fall of 2014 to commemorate the life and work of journalist Matthew Power (1974-2014). Given annually and funded by more than 650 separate donations, it provides $12,500 to an early-career journalist researching an important story that illuminates the human condition.

“The events of the past year have focused our attention on the unfinished promise of American democracy,” says Journalism Professor Ted Conover, a friend of Power’s. “We feel that Caleb Gayle has a great idea for talking about that, and that Matthew Power would agree.”

Gayle is the author of a forthcoming book from Riverhead Books that 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, the Los Angeles Review of Books, the Root, and the Daily Beast, among others.

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

This year’s judges were Conover, Jessica Benko, Robert S. Boynton, Christopher Cox, and Roger Hodge. 

Power was an established freelance writer who contributed to such publications as GQ, Harper’s Magazine, Men’s Journal, National Geographic Adventure, and the New York Times. He also worked in broadcast journalism. Power was a three-time finalist for the Livingston Award for Young Journalists in international reporting. His work was frequently featured in annual anthologies such as Best American Travel Writing and Best American Spiritual Writing. Power died on March 10, 2014, while accompanying the explorer Levison Wood, who was trying to become the first person to walk the entire length of the Nile River. 

For details on the Matthew Power Literary Reporting Award, please visit the award's website: Applications for next year's competition may be submitted starting in November.

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