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Patricia Evangelista Wins 2024 Helen Bernstein Book Award for Excellence in Journalism

Patricia Evangelista

Patricia Evangelista, a Manila-based Filipino investigative journalist, has been awarded the 2024 Helen Bernstein Book Award for Excellence in Journalism by The New York Public Library (NYPL).

The announcement, made on May 2, honors Evangelista for her 2023 New York Times best-seller, “Some People Need Killing: A Memoir of Murder in My Country.” The book offers an in-depth exploration of the Philippines’ war on drugs.

Patricia Evangelista

A Powerful Narrative on the Philippines’ Drug War

Critics have praised Evangelista’s book for its gripping narrative and detailed reporting on the effects of former President Rodrigo Duterte’s drug war, which led to the deaths of thousands of Filipinos.

The NYPL described her work as a “meticulously reported and deeply human chronicle of the Philippines’ drug war,” highlighting her immersive approach as she captured the atmosphere of terror that accompanied the campaign.

“She immersed herself in the world of killers and survivors and captured the atmosphere of terror created when an elected president decides that some lives are worth less than others,” the NYPL noted in its announcement.

Patricia Evangelista is the first non-American to receive the prestigious award, outshining four other finalists: Ben Goldfarb, Tom Mueller, Jeff Goodell, and Roxanna Asgarian. The organization awards a $15,000 cash prize to a journalist whose non-fiction work illuminates significant national or global issues, events, or policies, drawing public attention to them.

Since its inception in 1988, the Helen Bernstein Book Award has recognized journalists whose work demonstrates excellence in storytelling and a commitment to public service. Additionally, the Library Review Committee, which selects the winner from over 110 submissions, acknowledged Evangelista’s bold and fearless approach to investigative journalism.

Patricia Evangelista

A Journey Through Dangerous Territory

Some People Need Killing recounts Evangelista’s coverage of the drug war, detailing her encounters with victims’ families, survivors, and the brutal reality of the government’s anti-drug campaign. Evangelista’s reporting on armed conflict and disaster has previously garnered her the Kate Webb Prize for exceptional journalism in dangerous conditions.

Since its publication in October 2023, the book has garnered critical acclaim, earning spots on the New York Times’ 10 Best Books of 2023, the New Yorker’s Best Books of 2023, and TIME Magazine’s 100 Must-Read Books of 2023.

Evangelista’s achievement is a testament to the quality and impact of Filipino journalism on the global stage. Her work sheds light on the profound consequences of policies that devalue human life and underscores the importance of investigative journalism in holding power to account.

With this award, Evangelista’s voice and story resonate far beyond the Philippines, contributing to the broader conversation about justice, accountability, and human rights.

Read Also: Writers Share Prestigious Journalist of the Year Award at PH Esports Awards 2023


Written by Marjo Piedad

Traveler | Foodie | CONTENT EDITOR
📍Cebu, Philippines
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