Rupert Cornwell Award: £5,000 bursary for budding foreign correspondents

The Independent, in association with the Rupert Cornwell Trust, has opened applications for its annual award to honour the memory of one of our longest-serving foreign correspondents and one of the most distinguished in the business.

Rupert’s writing was infused with wisdom, marked out by its elegance and an unquenchable curiosity, and these are some of the qualities that we are looking for in the award winner. Vivid reportage and features from Albania, Georgia, Canada’s northern territories and the Spanish north African enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla show the wide range of proposals that have won the support of the judges in the past.

A bursary of £5,000 is once again being made available to one individual to fund a suitable journalistic project.

Although the remit is wide, it must be a foreign assignment in one of the broad regions that Rupert covered throughout his long career – North America, Europe, and the territories of the former Soviet Union – but not in an area that is involved in conflict.

The application should comprise the following:

  • A pitch of around 800 words detailing how the funds will be used, the volume and type of material that will be generated, and its merits as journalism in the digital age;
  • Where appropriate, a selection of three published articles or other pieces of work (but equal consideration will be given to applicants with little or no established track record);
  • A personal or professional reference;
  • In the spirit of the earlier part of Rupert’s career in particular, applicants need not have studied journalism but should possess an enquiring mind, a gift for storytelling, and a fine prose style.

The following formal eligibility criteria will apply:

Applicants should be under 30 on 1 January 2024;

They should be based in Britain or America (but need not be US or UK nationals).

The journalism produced should satisfy these criteria:

  • It must be in English;
  • It must be substantially in the form of the written word as articles, with use of other media also encouraged;
  • It must be original;
  • It may constitute one article, but will more likely constitute a series of articles;
  • It should be completed within six months of the start of the project at most;
  • Overall it should amount to about 10,000 words, plus other material as appropriate.

The funding may be staggered as goals are met.

The panel of judges will be drawn from Rupert’s many colleagues and chaired by Susan Cornwell, former US congressional correspondent for Reuters.

The work is intended for publication by The Independent and all copyright will rest with The Independent. No additional fees or expenses will be provided, and travel costs are included in the bursary. The previous winners, Rachel Savage,Lemma Shehadi, Thomas Graham and Eleanor Myers, produced work of outstanding quality.

Please send your applications to with “Cornwell Award” in the header. The deadline for entries is 5 July.


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