Photo by Todd Gray

Photo by Todd Gray


Jessica Bruder is a journalist who reports on subcultures and economic justice.

For her recent book Nomadland: Surviving America in the Twenty-First Century (W.W. Norton & Co.), she spent months living in a camper van, documenting itinerant Americans who gave up traditional housing and hit the road full time, enabling them to travel from job to job and carve out a place for themselves in our precarious economy. The project spanned three years and more than 15,000 miles of driving—from coast to coast and from Mexico to the Canadian border.

Jessica has been teaching at Columbia Journalism School since 2008. She has written for publications including Harper's Magazine, The Nation, WIRED, The Washington Post, The Associated Press, The International Herald Tribune, The New York Times Magazine, The Guardian, The Christian Science Monitor, O: The Oprah Magazine, Inc. Magazine, Reuters and, along with The Oregonian and The New York Observer — where she worked as a staff writer — and Fortune Small Business magazine, where she was a senior editor. Her long-form stories have won a James Aronson Award for Social Justice Journalism and a Deadline Club Award.

A longtime contributor to The New York Times, Jessica has written more than 120 bylined stories for the newspaper and was the columnist behind START, a NYT blog profiling socially innovative startups. Before that, she was the editor of CNNMoney's Innovation Nation column,  spotlighting ventures that aimed to benefit people and the planet.

Jessica is also the author of Burning Book: A Visual History of Burning Man (Simon & Schuster). (The first stop on that book's reading tour got listed in The New Yorker. Her mom totally freaked out about it.) Her documentary photography appears in both Burning Book and Nomadland, and has also run in The New York Times, The New York Observer and Blender magazine.

She's been interviewed about her work on radio shows including NPR's "All Things Considered," "On Point" and "Here and Now," along with WNYC's "Leonard Lopate Show," CBC's "Q" arts and culture program, and KCRW's "Press Play With Madeleine Brand," and on such television programs as MSNBC'S "The Cycle" and Al Jazeera's "The Stream." Her projects have received support from the Economic Hardship Reporting Project and the Rockefeller Foundation's Bellagio Center, where she was a 2016 literary arts fellow. This spring, she will be a resident fellow at Yaddo.

Jessica holds a B.A. in English and French from Amherst College, summa cum laude, and an M.S. in magazine writing from Columbia Journalism School, where she was co-valedictorian of her class and won a Pulitzer Traveling Fellowship.

She lives in Brooklyn, New York with a dog named Max and more plants than you can shake a leafy stick at.