The Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute has named Astha Rajvanshi, a journalist who writes about human rights and marginalized communities, the winner of its eighth Matthew Power Literary Reporting Award.

Astha Rajvanshi
Astha Rajvanshi (photo credit: Emma Kazaryan)

Rajvanshi, the Award’s Eighth Recipient, will focus on environmental justice, indigenous rights in India

New York University’s Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute has named Astha Rajvanshi, a journalist who writes about human rights and marginalized communities, the winner of its eighth Matthew Power Literary Reporting Award. 

Rajvanshi will use the grant to pursue a story about environmental justice and indigenous rights in India.

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.

“With the world opening back up, the Power Award has renewed relevance,” said Journalism Professor Ted Conover, a friend of Power’s. “Matt worked from New Delhi as a stringer after college, and later published three great pieces that he reported in India. He’d be thrilled to see this award going to Astha Rajvanshi—she’s doing important work.”

Rajvanshi recently completed a two-year fellowship at the Institute of Current World Affairs, where she examined the lives of women and marginalized communities in India and greater South Asia. Her writing has appeared in TIME, WIRED, National Geographic, Slate, BBC, and the New York Times, among other publications. She previously worked at the New York Times Magazine and Reuters in New York. A graduate of Columbia Journalism School’s investigative reporting program, Rajvanshi has received writing fellowships from the Asian American Writers Workshop, the Australia-Korea Foundation, and the Global Migration Project. She was born in New Delhi and grew up in Sydney.

This year’s judges were Conover, Jessica Benko, Suketu Mehta, Christopher Cox, Roger Hodge, and Meera Subramanian.

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, visit the award page. Applications for next year's competition may be submitted starting in November.

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