Jessica Bruder is an award-winning journalist whose work focuses on subcultures and the dark corners of the economy.
Her second book, NOMADLAND, a narrative non-fiction tale of American nomads based on "The End of Retirement: When You Can't Afford to Stop Working" (Harper's Magazine cover, August '14), is forthcoming in September with W.W. Norton & Co.
She teaches at Columbia Journalism School and has written for such venues as Harper's Magazine, The New York Times Magazine, The Nation, The Washington Post, The Christian Science Monitor, The New York Observer, the Associated Press, Reuters, O: The Oprah Magazine, The Oregonian and The International Herald Tribune. She also contributes to The Economic Hardship Reporting Project and volunteers as a mentor-editor for The Op-Ed Project.
Her first book, BURNING BOOK (Simon & Schuster) -- an account of the annual Burning Man festival in Nevada's Black Rock Desert -- pairs narrative non-fiction with photography and ephemera. A Los Angeles Times review of that project called her writing "quietly poetic." Other books featuring her work include PLAYA DUSTand O'S LITTLE BOOK OF HAPPINESS.
Since 2004, Jessica has been a regular contributor to The New York Times, with more than 150 bylined articles for the Book Review, Op-Ed, Style, Arts & Leisure, Business, Metro and Travel sections, and under other rubrics that went extinct long ago. (Whither the City pages? The scrappy New Jersey section? Sigh...) She was also the original columnist behind START, a New York Times blog about startups.
In past lives, she was a senior editor at Fortune Small Business magazine and the editor of CNNMoney's weekly Innovation Nation column.
On assignment, Jessica has hiked the Simanjiro Plains of Tanzania; been hooded, handcuffed and stuffed into the trunk of a Hyundai; juddered across Texas in an R.V.; and panned for gold with prospectors in the heart of the Mother Lode. She speaks fluent French. Once upon a time, Jessica was the worst waitress in all of Paris.
Jessica got her master's degree at Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism, where she won a Pulitzer Traveling Fellowship and was co-valedictorian of her class. She earned her bachelor's degree summa cum laude at Amherst College.
In her spare time, she enjoys snowboarding, growing tomatillos on her roof, playing electric guitar in Lightning Kites and Here Come the Warm Jets: LIVE! and deploying puns that make ears bleed. She is a mediocre but enthusiastic welder, much better at wielding a plasma cutter. She helps build large-scale interactive sculpture with artists' collectives The Madagascar Institute and The Flaming Lotus Girls and has worked on art-installation teams at festivals including Burning Man, Coachella, WinterCity (Toronto), Figment, Flipside and The Maker Faire. She also enjoys devising macabre parlor games with Dark Passage.
Jessica takes pictures. Her professional photography has run in The New York Times, the Associated Press, The Christian Science Monitor, The New York Observer, Blender Magazine, Laughing Squid and BURNING BOOK. Her HD video footage was featured on the Discovery Channel's Daily Planet show as part of the D.I.Y.-themed "Garage Gurus" week.
Jessica lives in Brooklyn, N.Y. with her dog, Max, a.k.a. Spanielpants. She dislikes writing about herself in the third person but will suffer the task to make a good impression.