Simon Akam is a contributing editor at Newsweek Europe. Born in Cambridge, England, he held a gap year commission in the British Army before reading English Literature at Oxford University. He later won a Fulbright scholarship to study at Columbia Journalism School in New York. After graduation from Columbia, Simon worked at the New York Times and subsequently spent several years in West Africa as a correspondent for Reuters and the Economist. He reported from Sierra Leone, Liberia, Guinea, Mali, Senegal, Cote D'Ivoire, Uganda and the Gambia. In 2010 he won the professional strand of the Guardian's International Development Journalism Competition. Simon's writing has appeared in publications including the New York Times, The Guardian, the Washington Post, the Economist, the Times Literary Supplement, the Financial Times, the Independent, the New Statesman, the Paris Review, the New Republic, the Literary Review and Intelligent Life.