Alexius, Archbishop of Tiberias, leads a singing celebration of the resurrection of Jesus Christ in the courtyard of the Church of Saint Porphyrius in Gaza. (Elliott D. Woods)
The Overseas Press Club Awards have been announced, and we’re very pleased to say that Elliott D. Woods has received a citation in the Madeline Dane Ross Award for best international reporting in the print medium showing a concern for the human condition for “Hope’s Coffin,” published in the Summer 2009 issue of VQR. The citation, essentially a runner-up award, is given each year to one or two pieces that received strong support from the judges in unusually strong categories. When the big awards are going to people like Bob Woodward, Michael Lewis, Rajiv Chandrasekaran, Jon Lee Anderson, and Alissa J. Rubin, you can be pretty happy to be runner-up. Indeed, the top award for the Ross Award went to Abigail Haworth for her harrowing and heartbreaking “Forced to Be Fat,” a report from Mauritania on the practice of force-feeding young women to give them the folds of fat that men there find attractive. It’s an honor to be recognized alongside such incredible reporting.
We’re especially delighted by Elliott’s citation, because he is a former VQR intern. He traveled to Gaza, on a grant from the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting, barely six months after graduating from the University of Virginia and completing his internship with us. Most impressively, he stayed in Gaza for over a year—only concluding his time there this month. Before he left, we asked Elliott if he would attend an Easter service at the Church of Saint Porphyrius in Gaza and file one last report from the region for us. You can find his amazing new piece, “Easter in Gaza,” online now. You can also find his report, “The Path to Yaghestan,” about his month in the Wardak province of Afghanistan, in our current issue.
If these three pieces aren’t enough to satisfy your Elliott Woods craving, don’t despair. Elliott will be traveling to Egypt for us next month to work on a story for our Winter 2011 issue. Keep an eye out.