The Ed Cunningham Award 2015

Tristan McConnell

Tristan McConnell

Best magazine reporting in print or online on an international story


AWARD NAME: The Ed Cunningham Award 2015

RECIPIENT: Tristan McConnell

AFFILIATION: Foreign Policy

HONORED WORK: “Close Your Eyes and Pretend to Be Dead”

Through dozens of interviews and forensic detail, McConnell delivers an epic retelling of the Westgate Mall massacre in Nairobi in September 2013. Tracking down survivors, first responders, police and neighborhood security, McConnell pieces together a minute-by-minute account of the attack by four Somali Al-Shabaab operatives, which resulted in at least 67 deaths, including their own. Through the eyes of those who lived through the horror, McConnell takes readers into the heart of the events, as though they were in the midst of the violence. The result is a wrenching and breathless experience, in which each person is left to weigh life-and-death decisions in a split second. Through much of it, McConnell shows, police officers stood impotently outside, failing to act to save lives; the military’s glacial response amounted mostly to looting. A heartbreaking and damning story.

Read “Close Your Eyes and Pretend to be Dead” >>

Citation Recipient: Matthieu Aikins
Affiliation: Harper’s Magazine
Honored Work: “Gangs of Karachi: Meet the Mobsters Who Run the Show in One of the World’s Deadliest Cities”
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