Filipino authors

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

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

NYPL's Website

(1st UPDATE) The best-selling author, the first Asian winner of the award given by the New York Public Library, is recognized for her 'meticulously reported and deeply human chronicle of Duterte's drug war'

MANILA, Philippines – Investigative journalist Patricia Evangelista is the winner of the 2024 Helen Berstein Book Award for Excellence in Journalism, The New York Public Library (NYPL) announced on Thursday, May 2.

The Manila-based Filipino author was recognized for her 2023 New York Times best-seller Some People Need Killing: A Memoir of Murder in My Country, which the NYPL described as a “coming of age story in the aftermath of a street revolution that forged a new future for the Philippines.”

“Three decades later, in the face of mounting inequality, the nation discovered the fragility of its democratic institutions under the regime of strongman Rodrigo Duterte,” they wrote.

Evangelista is lauded for her “meticulously reported and deeply human chronicle of the Philippines’ drug war.” The captivating memoir sees the former Rappler investigative and trauma reporter vividly recount her coverage of then-president Rodrigo Duterte’s deadly war on drugs, which led to the deaths of thousands of Filipinos. 

“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 said.

Evangelista is the first Asian winner of the prestigious award. She bested four other finalists: Ben Goldfarb, Tom Mueller, Jeff Goodell, and Roxanna Asgarian. The winner – who also receives a cash prize of $15,000 – is selected by a Library Review Committee, which accepted over 110 submissions this year. (Editor’s Note: We initially reported that Evangelista is the first non-American winner of the award. This has been corrected to first Asian winner.)

The New York Public Library first gave out the Helen Bernstein Award in 1988. The accolade is given to a journalist “whose non-fiction work brings clarity and public attention to important issues, events, or policies of national and global significance.”

Since Some People Need Killing’s publication in October 2023, it was named among 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, among others. Evangelista’s reporting on armed conflict and disaster also garnered her the Kate Webb Prize for exceptional journalism in dangerous conditions. –

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  1. MB

    Awesome achievement Ms. Patricia. You are making all Filipino journalists proud. Congrats and cheers!

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