IWMF Kim Wall Memorial Fund Selects Two Grantees in Banner Year

Journalists from India and U.S. chosen to investigate complex themes among record number of applications

WASHINGTON, DC – March 23, 2023 – Family and friends of late Swedish journalist Kim Wall today announced the sixth annual recipients of the Kim Wall Memorial Fund (KWMF), which is directed and operated by the International Women’s Media Foundation (IWMF). The memorial fund was created in honor of Wall – an IWMF reporting fellow – and distributes grants to women journalists reporting on underrepresented topics related to Wall’s journalistic legacy.

Wall was an independent reporter who covered identity, gender, pop-culture, social justice and foreign policy for The New York Times, Slate, The South China Morning Post and The Atlantic, among other publications. She was killed in 2017 while on assignment in Copenhagen.

This year’s KWMF recipients are independent multimedia journalist Mahima Jain, based in India, and freelance editor and journalist Erin O’Brien, working in Turkey. These women’s stories will follow layered themes of inequity: Jain will explore India’s vanishing women workers while O’Brien will report on Kurdish treasure hunting under Erdoğan’s rule.

Jain was a finalist for the Thomson Foundation Young Journalist Award and shortlisted for both the Society of Publishers in Asia Awards and One World Media Awards. She previously reported for The Guardian, Scroll.in, BBC, Foreign Policy, The Caravan, The Fuller Project and other international publications. O’Brien’s bylines have appeared in Foreign Policy, NPR, Al Jazeera, War on the Rocks, the Economist’s 1843 magazine, and other news outlets. In 2022, she contributed to reporting on surrogate mothers in Ukraine at the outbreak of the war.

Jain’s work addresses issues of inequality and social injustice by highlighting the voices of underrepresented groups. She commented to the IWMF, “Kim always empowered the choices of the communities she covered, showcasing ordinary lives and adding the layers of global context and perception. I hope to carry Kim’s legacy forward by following her vision, approach and journalistic values, and to bring more light to voices of rebellion – specifically those of women in India.”

O’Brien’s journalism focuses on human stories that reveal the true impact of violence and conflict. She told the IWMF, “Being a Kim Wall Memorial Fund grantee means carrying on Kim’s legacy: Reporting on communities that go uncovered and telling stories that go untold. While I’m heartbroken at the circumstances that presented this opportunity, I feel incredibly fortunate to deliver reporting on marginalized communities that, if she were still alive, Kim would still be doing.”

The KWMF selection committee includes IWMF staff members along with Kim’s family and close friends. This year the committee received a record number of 127 proposals, marking the highest application rate for the fund since its debut in 2018.

Kim’s parents – Ingrid and Joachim Wall – are delighted to welcome Jain and O’Brien to the KWMF, commenting, “Erin and Mahima’s proposals offered complex questions with novel, nuanced approaches that would have excited Kim. Both journalists care for communities that are chasing new realities in nearly impossible circumstances. Congratulations to both recipients; we can’t wait to see your work.”

About The Kim Wall Memorial Fund

Kim Wall was an award-winning journalist working in print, video, radio and long-form writing.

She reported on gender, popular culture, identity and foreign policy from China, Sri Lanka, Uganda, Haiti, North Korea, India and the Marshall Islands. Her work appeared in a wide range of publications, including The New York Times, Foreign Policy, The Atlantic, TIME, Slate, Vice and The Guardian. In August 2017, Kim was killed while on assignment in Copenhagen, Denmark. The Kim Wall Memorial Fund was established by her family and friends to honor her spirit and legacy. The grant supports young female reporters to cover subculture, broadly defined, and what Kim liked to call “the undercurrents of rebellion.” For more information, please visit https://www.rememberingkimwall.com/ or connect on Twitter at @TheKimWallFund and Facebook at @kimwallmemorialfund.

About the IWMF

Founded in 1989, the International Women’s Media Foundation (IWMF) is the only global non-profit organization that offers emergency support, safety training, grants, reporting opportunities and funding avenues offered specifically for women and nonbinary journalists. We are making more bylines possible and work tirelessly to ensure a greater diversity of voices represented in the news industry worldwide. Follow the IWMF on Twitter at @IWMF, on Facebook at @IWMFPage and Instagram on @TheIWMF.


Media Contact: Charlotte Fox