Antonia Hoyle

Daily Mail

Antonia Hoyle is a brilliant, fearless feature writer, whether meeting the brave women suffering unimaginable misery to give birth in war-torn Ukraine or investigating the disturbing reality of chatbots offering vulnerable young people advice on how to hide an eating disorder. She always writes compellingly, and stays true to a sense that some stories simply need to be told.

Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, our screens were filled with tales of suffering from the front line. But Antonia, working closely with a photographer on the ground in Kyiv, sought out not the soldiers taking on Putin’s invading forces but the towering mothers who defied the odds to give birth with bombs falling all around them - offering hope at a time of apocalyptic chaos, bloodshed and heartbreak. Trauma and translation difficulties meant these were not easy interviews to conduct, but Antonia did so with her characteristic sensitivity and determination. Every fear, every tear of both joy and rage, are brought shudderingly to life in this vital account of four anything-but-ordinary women. It was at Antonia’s urging and instigation that their stories, sensitively told, reached the Daily Mail audience. Unimaginable suffering lies at the heart of her second nominated piece too. But this time, it’s on British soil that children’s welfare is at risk. There has long been a veil of secrecy over the shadowy workings of our family courts. But Antonia was determined to lift the lid on the decisions made within their walls. Battling obfuscation and hostility from officials, she, overseeing several other reporters, visited courts across the land; what they found will horrify you - vulnerable children removed from their families and put at risk in our broken care process. She offers a clear-eyed but enraged portrait of a system that lets down those it should most strive to protect. The vulnerability of Britain’s young people is again at stake in her final nominated piece. Most of us feel unsettled by the relentless rise of Artificial Intelligence chatbots in our everyday lives. But Antonia was particularly appalled to learn that such AI is now actively encouraging the secretive behaviour that kickstarts life-threatening eating disorders. Determined to hold big tech to account, she posed as a teenager to see just how damaging the tips and advice such bots dole out are. It is a piece that should be required reading for every parent in Britain, and telegraphs the meticulous research, unwavering good sense and evocative writing she is known for.