Jacki Lyden regards herself first and foremost as a writer and looks for the distinctive human voice everywhere: in decades of making radio pieces, live public interviews, podcasts and print. She is the founder of the writing workshops “Love Comes in at the Eye” (Ireland) and the “Colton House Writers Retreat” . (Arizona). She is the author of the national bestseller, Daughter of the Queen of Sheba, which the New York Times called “a memoir classic," adapted for film and stage.
She is currently working on a new memoir, "Tell Me Something Good." For over three decades, Lyden was an award-winning host and correspondent for NPR. She covered the Middle East, Afghanistan, and the UK, Upon leaving NPR she established the podcast, "The Seams." She was NPR's first reporter on the air during 9/11 from New York. In 2017-2018, she was a Rosalynn Carter Fellow for Mental Health Journalism. She's been a keynote speaker for the Hippocampus Magazine writers conference, an op-ed contributor The Washington Post and is a board member of the Cheuse International Writing Center at George Mason University,
Her journalism has taken her to dozens of countries including Syria, Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan, Iran, and Northern Ireland. She won The Gracie Award for Best Foreign Documentary (Loss and Its Aftermath: Palestinian and Israeli Children, 2001, NPR) and also, with NPR teams, the DuPont-Columbia, the Polk, and George Foster Peabody Awards for coverage of the First Gulf War, Afghanistan and the Second Gulf War. She also covered America: The Florida Highwaymen, The Rust Belt, American farms, prisons, and other topics.
Over the years, Lyden's articles have appeared in Granta, Atlantic Monthly, National Geographic, The New York Times and The Washington Post. She is a 1975 graduate of Valparaiso University and its Christ College for Scholars, and also its program in Cambridge University, England. She received an honorary PHD from Valparaiso . She was a 1991-92 Benton Fellow at the University of Chicago.
She once jumped out of a plane on a dare and has done air acrobatics with UN pilots over the Hindu Kush. She has reformed in this regard.
She has received artist residencies from Yaddo in Saratoga Springs, NY, and Ragsdale, Lake Forest, Illinois. She is a proud legal resident of her home state, Wisconsin. A longtime public speaker on the topic of family mental health, in 2021, she received the American Psychiatric Association's "Patient Advocate of the Year" award.
She is represented by The Tuesday Agency. For speaking requests, please contact info@Tuesdayagency.com. She’s been married to Washington Post Photographer Bill O’Leary since 2004.
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