IWMF Kim Wall Memorial Fund Announces 2024 Grantees in Record Application Year

Journalists from the U.S., U.K., and China selected to advance Wall’s legacy of storytelling amid an unprecedented applicant pool.

WASHINGTON, DC – March 22, 2024 – Today the International Women’s Media Foundation (IWMF), along with family and friends of late Swedish journalist Kim Wall, announced the seventh annual grantees of the IWMF Kim Wall Memorial Fund (KWMF). Established to commemorate Wall – a reporting fellow of the IWMF – the fund provides financial support to women reporters covering lesser-known stories that echo Wall’s journalistic curiosity and impact.

Wall, an independent journalist, reported on topics such as identity, gender, pop culture, social justice, and foreign policy, contributing to prestigious outlets like The New York Times, Slate, The South China Morning Post, and The Atlantic. Her life was tragically cut short in 2017 while on assignment in Copenhagen.

This year, the IWMF’s KWMF grantees are Audrey Gray, a freelance climate journalist based in the U.S. concentrating on how communities adapt to and safeguard against extreme weather conditions; Isobel Thompson, a freelance journalist from the U.K. known for her narrative features and investigative work; and, Zhaoyin Feng, an independent journalist and documentary producer operating out of the Netherlands. 

The 2024 grantees were selected for their skill weaving narratives that connect disparate worlds and showcase resilience amid adversity. Through the IWMF’s KWMF, Thompson will investigate women touched by paramilitary violence in Northern Ireland. Meanwhile, Feng will follow the lives of Chinese immigrant baristas in Italy. Additionally, Gray will document LGBTQI+ organizers’ efforts to establish extreme-weather shelters for marginalized communities. Their projects continue Wall’s legacy of breaking storytelling boundaries by imparting a unique sense of empathy and understanding within modern society.

Gray, a graduate of Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism whose work has appeared in Mother Jones, The New Republic, Inside Climate News, Wired, and Architectural Digest, is inspired by Wall’s pioneering reporting. “Kim was ahead of her time reporting on climate impacts around the world, paying attention to communities facing new levels of danger,” said Gray. “She was also prescient about the need for Queer and Trans people to have safe spaces in our society, and this project is the intersection of those two enormous stories.”

Thompson, who has published in The Guardian, Vanity Fair, and The Economist as well as hosted an investigative series on Audible, completed her degrees in Trinity College Dublin and Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism as a Fulbright Scholar. Thompson’s work, supported by grants from the Pulitzer Center and IJ4EU, primarily focuses on human rights. Reflecting on her career, Thompson told the IWMF, “I hope that by exploring the lives of women impacted by paramilitary violence, I’m focusing on a theme that – with its complexity and challenges – might have appealed to the brilliant and fearless Kim.” 

Feng’s journalism unveils social injustices and delves into the complexities of stories about underrepresented groups. She was previously based in Washington, D.C. as a correspondent and investigative documentary producer for the BBC World Service. In 2022, Feng received an Asian American Journalists Association Journalism Excellence Award in feature writing. “Just like Kim, I feel passionate about finding quirky, underreported and cross-cultured stories from far-flung places around the world,” said Feng. “Kim’s spirit continues to inspire me to chase down important and unusual truths.”

The selection panel for the KWMF comprises members of the IWMF team, together with Kim Wall’s family, peers and journalism associates. This year, the IWMF’s KWMF committee was presented with an unprecedented 141 submissions from 52 countries, the most significant number of applications the fund has seen since its inception in 2018.

Kim’s mother and brother, Ingrid and Tom Wall, respectively, are delighted to welcome Gray, Thomson, and Feng as new IWMF KWMF grantees. “Seeing the work of these remarkable grantees, we are deeply moved,” said the Walls. “Each of them carries forward Kim’s journalistic ethos—her exploration of stories less heard, her commitment to highlighting diverse perspectives, and her belief in the power of storytelling to connect and illuminate.”

# # #

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.