(Photo credit: Joni Sternbach)

I grew up in Virginia a little girl mad about the American Civil War. On weekends I begged my father to take me to all the battlefields: Gettysburg, Fredericksburg, Antietam. I was transfixed by the moral question the war addressed and the incredible change its end effected: a change we're still trying to make real.

As a writer, I love change. I love to tell you what intersection or attic music salon to go to so you can see how a city is changing; I love to dig deep into the motivations of people who've radically altered their identities. I've written about a former apartheid police minister-turned-born again Christian, a rural black South African boy-turned-poultry emperor, and two American Senators whose essential views on war swapped places. My essays and long-form narratives appear in The New York Times Magazine, The New RepublicForeign Policy, and other outlets. Right now I'm at work on a book about post-apartheid South Africa. 

I graduated from Yale with a degree in political philosophy. I've also received a Fulbright scholarship to South Africa and substantial writing grants from the Institute of Current World Affairs, the Daniel Pearl Investigative Journalism Initiative, the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting, and the Writing Invisibility Project at the Max Planck Institute. In 2013, my work was nominated for a Livingston Award, the top American prize for journalists under 35.

I play the mandolin and take photographs, too -- check them out on my Photographs page.