The Michael Kelly Award

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Sarah Stillman

In the “The Invisible Army,” Sarah Stillman tells the story of ten Fijian beauticians who were recruited for lucrative jobs in a posh Dubai salon, only to end up in Iraq giving manicures and massages to U.S. soldiers. Through their mistreatment, Stillman exposes the larger scandal of thousands of foreign workers on U.S. military bases reduced to something like indentured servitude. Working as a freelance reporter without a contract, Stillman spent more than a year reporting the story, traveling to four countries, six military bases, and two war zones. “Without the help of many brave foreign workers who snuck off to bunkers, barracks, and bathrooms to talk with me,” Stillman said in a letter accompanying her entry, “this story would not have been possible.”

Sarah Stillman is a freelance reporter and visiting scholar at New York University's Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute, where she teaches a course on reporting the global city. She was a finalist for the Daniel Pearl Award for Outstanding International Investigative Reporting and a recent recipient of the Knight Luce Fellowship for Reporting on Global Religion. Her coverage of America's wars overseas and the challenges facing soldiers who have returned home has appeared in The New YorkerThe Washington PostThe NationThe New, and The She taught a seminar on the Iraq war at Yale, and also ran a creative writing workshop for four years at Cheshire Correctional Institute, a maximum-security men's prison in Connecticut.

The Invisible Army

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