Jessica Bruder is a journalist who writes about social issues and subcultures.
For her book Nomadland, 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 a 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. Named a New York Times Notable Book and Editors’ Choice, Nomadland won the 2017 Discover Award and was a finalist for the J. Anthony Lukas Prize and the Helen Bernstein Book Award.
Nomadland has been translated into French, Japanese and German, with forthcoming editions in Chinese (mainland & Taiwan). It has been adapted for a film of the same name featuring Frances McDormand and David Strathairn, directed by Chloé Zhao and distributed by Fox Searchlight (anticipated release: Fall 2020).
Jessica is also the author of Burning Book and is currently writing about trust in the age of surveillance.
Jessica has been teaching narrative storytelling at Columbia Journalism School and contributing to The New York Times for more than a decade. She has written for New York Magazine, WIRED, Harper's Magazine, The Washington Post, The Associated Press, The International Herald Tribune, The New York Times Magazine, The Guardian, The Nation, The Washington Post, The Christian Science Monitor, Inc. Magazine, and O: The Oprah Magazine. Earlier in her career, she was a staff reporter at The Oregonian and The New York Observer.
In past lives, she was the original columnist behind START, a New York Times blog about startups, a senior editor at Fortune Small Business magazine and the editor of CNNMoney's weekly Innovation Nation column. She also contributes to The Economic Hardship Reporting Project and volunteers as a mentor-editor for The Op-Ed Project.
Her photography appears in Nomadland and Burning Book and has been published by The New York Times, The New York Observer and Blender magazine.
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 earned her M.S. in magazine writing from Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism, where she won a Pulitzer Traveling Fellowship and was co-valedictorian of her class. She earned a B.A. in English and French summa cum laude at Amherst College.
Going back further, she was a Starbucks barista, a snowboarder, an electric guitar nerd, a music store clerk, a junior camp counselor and a really lousy waitress. She is, eternally, a proud and patch-wearing member of the Madagascar Institute and the Flaming Lotus Girls.
She lives in Brooklyn with a dog named Max and more plants than you can shake a leafy stick at.