Journalist investigating aftermath of Communism in Albania wins Rupert Cornwell Prize

Ellie will write a series of features on the aftermath of Communist rule in Albania

Sean O'Grady
Thursday 13 October 2022 14:02 BST
Rupert Cornwell Prize winner, Ellie Myers
Rupert Cornwell Prize winner, Ellie Myers (Ellie Myers)

The fourth Rupert Cornwell Prize for Journalism has been won by Ellie Myers, a freelance journalist based in Tbilisi.

The annual award is aimed at younger journalists towards the start of their careers, and Ms Myers was the most impressive of the candidates in another crowded field of talent. Her winning proposal is for a series of features on the lingering, tragic aftermath of Communist rule in Albania, a nation still emerging from its past, and very much in the news again.

The £5,000 prize is supported by The Independent and will be awarded by the Rupert Cornwell Trust.

On behalf of the judges and the trust, Cornwell’s widow Susan, a former US congressional correspondent for Reuters, praised Myers’ “well written and well organised” proposal about Albania’s struggle to reckon with its Communist past.

“The judges felt that she had a good idea for an unusual story and the writing skills to tell the tale. Eleanor is obviously a talented young journalist who deserves our support.”

Eleanor said: “I am deeply grateful for the opportunity, and excited to go to Albania. It is an honour to receive an award in the name of such a talented writer”.

In a competition which attracted a high calibre of candidates, the judges also highly commended Joseph Rachman for his very strong proposal about the challenges that European farmers face in a changing world.

The Rupert Cornwell Prize was established in memory of the distinguished foreign correspondent and writer who died five years ago. The goal is to help fund a suitable journalistic project in any of the broad regions Cornwell spent much of his career covering – North America, Europe and the former Eastern Bloc and USSR.

Rupert Cornwell was one of the most elegant of writers in recent times, and embodied the pioneering spirit of The Independent when he joined it as one of its first recruits in 1986. He remained one of its wisest and most eloquent voices, writing for the title until his death in 2017.

From his earliest reports for the Financial Times in Rome to many years at The Independent chronicling the decline of the USSR, and on to the Trump phenomenon, he was a source of inspiration for all his colleagues, and is now for a new generation of writers.

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