The Michael Kelly Award

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C.J. Chivers

C.J. Chivers arrived in Beslan soon after its elementary school had been attacked by Chechen terrorists in August 2004. Over the next 18 months, he returned again and again, on weekends, on vacation, determined to tell the definitive story of how 362 people, many of them children, ended up dying there. He interviewed some survivors in sessions lasting as long as 10 hours. His goal, he said, was to create the first “wide-lit narrative of the event.” In reporting the story, Chivers acknowledged later, he was “essentially obsessed.” The result of his obsession was a gripping 18,000-word, hour-by-hour account that both contradicts the official story of the Beslan hostage crisis and illuminates man’s capacity for good and evil. Or, as Esquire put it, “an extraordinary accounting of the experience of terror in the age of terrorism.”

C.J. Chivers is a Moscow correspondent for The New York Times and a regular contributor to Esquire. After graduating from Cornell University in 1988, he joined the U.S. Marine Corps and served in the Persian Gulf War. Honorably discharged in 1994 with the rank of captain, Chivers entered the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, graduating in 1995 as valedictorian. He began his writing career at the Providence Journal, and joined the Times in 1999 as a metro reporter, covering crime and law enforcement. He was in downtown Manhattan on the morning of September 11, 2001, and witnessed the attacks on the World Trade Center. For the next twelve days he remained on the site. Since then, Chivers has also reported from Afghanistan, Israel, Iraq, and Russia. Chivers, 42, lives in Moscow with his wife, Suzanne Keating, and their four children.

The School


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