The Laurence Stern Fellowship, the long-standing program of The Washington Post that brings a promising young British journalist to work in its newsroom each summer, will be renamed to also honor Felicity Bryan, a driving force behind the fellowship since it began in 1980. It now will be named the Stern-Bryan Fellowship.
“Larry Stern was the inspiration for this fellowship. Felicity is the unstoppable engine who made this program the success that it is,” Post Executive Editor Marty Baron said. “With one American and one Brit, the hyphenated name also matches the fellowship's transatlantic ideals.”
The program was begun by the late former Post Executive Editor Ben Bradlee in honor of Stern, a Post editor who died at age 50 in 1979. Bradlee and veteran British journalist Godfrey Hodgson turned to Bryan, a close friend of Stern’s, to be one of the original organizers.
In the four decades since, Bryan, one of Britain’s leading literary agents, has been an irrepressible force at the heart of the fellowship. She has been involved in interviewing candidates and using her massive powers of persuasion to make sure alumni generously continued to help fund the program. She has been a generous funder herself.
“Ben Bradlee once said to me that the Stern Fellowship was one of the things he was most proud to be associated with, and I feel the same,” Bryan said Thursday.
The fellowship counts among its alumni some of Britain’s most prominent journalists, including Lionel Barber, former editor of the Financial Times; David Leigh and and Gary Younge, formerly of The Guardian ; James Naughtie of the BBC; Cathy Newman and Ian Katz of Channel 4; and Louisa Loveluck, who is now The Post’s Baghdad bureau chief.
Barber, the 1985 fellow, said the name change “cements the transatlantic bridge” and called it, “a new chapter of a great old fellowship.”
“The Stern Fellowship has succeeded beyond our expectations, and that could not have happened without Felicity,” said Sally Quinn, who was married to Bradlee. “Never has there been anyone who was more appropriately named. Her joy and dedication and courage has been an inspiration to all the Stern fellows and to all of us at The Washington Post for the last 40 years.”
Felicity Bryan Associates announced this month that their founder was stepping back from daily duties because she was being treated for stomach cancer. At the time, the agency noted in a statement: “From the outset, her entrepreneurial spirit and international outlook have ensured that rights in her clients’ books have sold in territories all over the world.” It noted that among her many global successes have been Karen Armstrong’s “A History of God,” Rosamunde Pilcher’s “The Shell Seekers” and Diarmaid MacCulloch’s “Christianity: The First Three Thousand Years.”
The Post partners in administering the fellowship with the journalism program at City University London and senior lecturer Glenda Cooper, who is a Stern alumna.