The First Female War Correspondents

Talk Tuesday 11 February 2014, 7:45 PM

Clare Hollingworth was signed up to The Daily Telegraph in August 1939 as the world was rushing towards war. In a career spanning 60 years, her big scoops include being the first to spot the massing of German tanks on the Polish border, signalling the start of the Second World War, and identifying Kim Philby as ‘the third man’. She has reported wars and revolutions in Europe, North Africa, the Middle East and Asia. Now 102, she lives in Hong Kong.

Gerda Taro had a similar passion for journalism. Tragically, her career was cut short when, in July 1937 whilst covering the Spanish civil war, she became the first female war photographer to die on assignment. Aged just 26, she was beginning to make a name for herself and it has recently been revealed how integral she was to the early career of Robert Capa.

Clare Hollingworth and Gerda Taro were two of the first female war correspondents, and their pioneering courage and conviction paved the way for many who have followed. We will be joined by Patrick Garrett, Hollingworth’s great nephew who is writing a book about her life, and Jane Rogoyska, author of Gerda Taro: Inventing Robert Capa. They will be exploring the lives and work of these two extraordinary women, united by a passion for journalism.

Chaired by Deborah Haynes, defence editor at The Times.


Patrick Garrett has worked as an editor for many of the major broadcasters, including the BBC, ITN, ABC, CBS and NBC, reporting from Eastern Europe, Asia and Africa.

Jane Rogoyska is a writer and filmmaker. She has worked extensively in filmmaking across a range of genres and has written two feature screenplays. Gerda Taro – Inventing Robert Capa is her first full-length book. With the aid of a Wingate Scholarship, she is currently working on a book about Katyn, the massacre of 14,000 Polish officers by the Soviet secret police during World War II. She is a Royal Literary Fund Fellow at the University of Greenwich for 2013-14.

Kate Brooks is an award-winning American photojournalist who has covered the Middle East, Afghanistan, and Pakistan throughout the post 9/11 decade and into the Arab Spring. Her photographs have been extensively published in magazines such as TIME, Newsweek, The Atlantic, The New Yorker and Smithsonian and have also been exhibited in Europe and the U.S. In 2011 she published her first book In the Light of Darkness: A Photographer’s Journey After 9/11. Most recently she has working on her second documentary film project, dedicating herself to Africa’s poaching epidemic. 

Photography: (L) Clare Hollingworth & Tim Page, Vietnam by François Sully, 1968 © Archives and Special Collections, Healey Library, UMass Boston; (R) Gerda Taro & Robert Capa, Paris by Fred Stein, 1935 © Estate of Fred Stein,, courtesy International Center of Photography.