Journalist Marie Colvin was last night posthumously awarded the Orwell Special Prize for her collected works, On the Front Line.
Colvin wrote for The Sunday Times from 1985 until her death last year. Although a specialist in the Middle East, she covered stories across the globe, always aiming to shine a light on “humanity in extremis, pushed to the unendurable”.
She wasn’t just a journalist, but a hero too: in 1999, in East Timor, she saved the lives of 1500 women and children trapped in a compound besieged by Indonesian forces. She stayed with them for four days, whilst reporting on television and in papers, until all were evacuated.
Later in life, she bore witness to the war crimes against the Tamils committed in the last days of the war in Sri Lanka.
On the 22nd February 2012, only a day after making a broadcast, Colvin and photographer Rémi Ochlik were killed whilst covering the siege of Homs in Syria, fleeing an unofficial media building being shelled by the Syrian Army.
Director of The Orwell Prize, Jean Seaton, said: ‘Marie Colvin’s life – like many journalists – was abruptly and terribly closed as she was doing her job… Her work has been beautifully shaped in this book. A life given to holding the powerful to account.’