The Author

Eli Saslow

eli saslow headshot

In his Pulitzer Prize-winning coverage for The Washington Post, Eli Saslow, who has been called “one of the great young journalists in America,” reveals the human stories behind the most divisive issues of our time. From racism and poverty to addiction and school shootings, Saslow’s work uncovers the manifold impacts of major national issues on individuals and families.

Saslow won the 2014 Pulitzer Prize in Explanatory Reporting for a yearlong series of stories about food stamps and hunger in the United States. Collected into the book American Hunger, his stories were praised as “unsettling and nuanced…forcing readers to grapple with issues of poverty and dependency.”

Saslow was also a three-time finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in Feature Writing. “The Lonely Quiet,” Saslow’s intimate, devastating portrait of parents whose first-grader was murdered at Sandy Hook in 2012, explores both staggering loss and the determination to wrest something meaningful from that loss. In 2016’s “What Kind of Childhood Is That?”, he profiled three children orphaned by America’s opioid epidemic. And in his feature “The White Flight of Derek Black,” Saslow told millions of Americans a story we need to hear: how the one-time heir to America’s white nationalist movement came to question the ideology he helped spread.  Saslow’s book Rising Out of Hatred charts the rise of white nationalism through the experiences of one person who abandoned everything he was taught to believe.  Built on extensive, wide-ranging interviews with Derek, his father Don Black, and many other people, Rising Out of Hatred traces Derek’s painful but ultimately profound evolution, and explores the enormous ramifications of his decision to publicly denounce white nationalism in an open letter to the Southern Poverty Law Center in 2013.

In 2011, Saslow cofounded Press Pass Mentors, a writing-focused nonprofit for underrepresented high school students in the Washington, DC area. The program pairs each student with a professional journalist in a one-on-one mentorship, offering students behind-the-scenes trips to places normally only accessible with a press pass, from the White House and the Kennedy Center to an NBA locker room. Mentors guide students through a curriculum that includes preparing for the SAT, applying to college, and writing scholarship essays.

Saslow speaks on the role of journalism in highlighting social and public health issues, the craft of longform journalism, the human impacts of public policy, and the importance of civility and radical inclusion. He was the T. Anthony Pollner Distinguished Professor of Journalism at the University of Montana, and he has spoken at Princeton, Syracuse University, UNC Wilmington, UVA, Northwestern, USC, and elsewhere.  A graduate of Syracuse University, Saslow is the winner of a George Polk Award, a PEN Literary Award, a James Beard Award, and other honors. He lives in Portland, Oregon, with his wife and children.

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