“Darcy Courteau’s immersive reporting beams with authenticity and compassion, in particular as she relays a woman’s traumatic attempts to immigrate to the United States and live with her U.S.-born husband and children. Ms. Courteau’s commitment to following this story over time and by any means necessary results in an intricate narrative that is haunting, devastating, and deep in its humanity.”

2020 Judging Panel

Darcy Courteau is a writer and photo essayist based in Washington, D.C. and the rural Ozark Mountains of Arkansas. Her work has appeared in The Atlantic Monthly, Oxford American, The Washington Post Magazine, The American Scholar, and other publications. Among her enduring subjects are the outsider communities she has made home. She has written about the Ozarks, life in a low-income, high-crime neighborhood in racially segregated D.C., and dog sledding in the Alaskan wilderness.

Her long-form story “Mireya’s Third Crossing” follows a Mexican woman on her epic journey to attain a visa after living unauthorized in the United States for 25 years. In order to apply she must ultimately leave her family and return to Mexico. The story was featured in The Atlantic Monthly’s June 2019 issue.