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News > General > Benjamin Black, Class of 2000, Wins The Moore Prize for Human Rights Writing

Benjamin Black, Class of 2000, Wins The Moore Prize for Human Rights Writing

Belly Woman: Birth, Blood & Ebola - The Untold Story, by Old Waconian Benjamin Black, is the 2023 winner of The Christopher G. Moore Foundation's seventh annual literary prize

The Christopher G. Moore Foundation recently announced the 2023 winner of their seventh annual literary prize honouring books that feature human rights themes. Belly Woman: Birth, Blood & Ebola - The Untold Story by Benjamin Black (Neem Tree Press) has been chosen as the best book with a human rights theme, published between 1 July, 2022 and 30 June 2023.

The 2023 jury, comprised of Dr Jackie Dugard, senior lecturer of Human Rights at Columbia University; Roja Fazaeli, Professor in Law and Islamic Studies, University of Galway; and human rights barrister, academic, author and broadcaster, Geoffrey Robertson, KC, were unanimous in their choice.

Belly Woman is a unique work combining investigative reporting and advocacy. A young doctor’s harrowing account of his experience in helping pregnant women give birth during an Ebola epidemic and Covid-19 pandemic. His book is set in Sierra Leone, 2014-2020. In 2014, when the author arrived, Sierra Leone was ranked the country with the highest death rate of pregnant women in the world. Dr. Black was forced to make impossible decisions on the maternity ward, facing moral dilemmas in the treatment centres, Belly Woman shines a light on an important story that has rarely surfaced on the literary radar screen.

Benjamin is a consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist in London and a specialist advisor to international aid organisations. He also teaches medical teams around the world on improving sexual and reproductive healthcare to the most vulnerable people in the most challenging of circumstances.

The Jury commented: “The winner, Belly Woman, was an extraordinary book on many levels. In telling the story of the Ebola and Covid crises in Sierra Leone, Black wrote in a moving way about its victims, highlighting the voices of women, giving them agency. Their stories were interwoven to powerfully illustrate how a doctor in the field can practice medicine in ways that guide the advancement of global health and human rights. On a different level, he also showed the disparities between the global north and south through a human rights lens, reminding us that these health crises are not a new phenomenon, and that the international community has repeatedly been incapable of protecting human rights.”

Benjamin said the following about his work: "It's my hope that the issues raised in the book reach as many people as possible. As we can see in the events happening around the world today, we must learn from the past and recognise the needs of pregnant woman and their communities at times of crisis."

An in depth interview with Benjamin will be featured in the next Old Waconian magazine.

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