Author and Journalist

About

X
Wm5g9rnqxeo2rdxfomz7 author portrait small

I'm a writer, editor, and researcher who has reported from North and South America, Europe, the Caribbean, and West Africa covering culture, politics, history, and identity. I've written thousands of stories, ranging from the fight to preserve world heritage in Palmyra, Syria, to the story of the first American dictionary. My book Americanon is about how seemingly innocuous bestselling books have served quietly as blueprints for "the good American," molding our common language, culture, and customs. It will be published by Dutton (Penguin-Random House) June 1, 2021.

My work has appeared in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington PostThe Nation, The Paris Review Daily, TIME.com, New York Magazine's The Cut, The New Republic, Fortune, Village VoiceInternational Business Times, CNN, Avidly (Los Angeles Review of Books), AFP Services, The Believer, Lapham's Quarterly, Teen Vogue, Business Insider, InStyle, DAME, Thrillist, Man Repeller, and Travel + Leisure, among others. I used to be a staff reporter at Time Inc. and International Business Times.

I studied 19th century poetry at Yale (among other fascinating and profoundly impractical things). Since then I've interviewed U.N. diplomats, U.S. senators, former members of the Irish Republican Army, and the errant amateur witch. I covered the 2015 Paris attacks on the ground, meeting musicians, refugees, and other Parisians working toward the city's recovery.

I'm bilingual in French, and you can find me between New York City and Paris.

Anna Sproul-Latimer at Neon represents me.

Portrait by Mariah Tyler.

Highlights

X

 How women invented book clubs, revolutionizing reading and their own lives, March 2021

 Women’s chief role in founding the modern book club — a consequence of being   marginalized from other intellectual spaces — has gone on to shape the book landscape   in profound and unappreciated ways.

"Denied a teaching job for being ‘too Black,’ she started her own school —and a movement"

Nannie Helen Burroughs decided that if she could not get a job as a teacher, she would   start her own school. And that school was only the beginning of a long and illustrious   career as an educator, orator, businesswoman, religious leader and activist.

 

Image illustrative de l’article The Guardian

 

 

  "Trust Your Dog"

 After grueling training, a rare few civilians and their dogs are allowed to participate in criminal   investigations by searching for cadavers.

 

Related image What It Was Like to Be an LGBTQ Activist Before Stonewall

 “It was assumed we were mentally ill; it was considered that we were certainly criminals, and we     were also considered to be morally depraved. But people would still sit and listen to you, and that’s   the beginning of a conversation.”

 "Old Paris Is No More"

 Why did Haussmann tear down 19,000 buildings in central Paris? According to his     memoirs: “It is easier to cut through the center of the pie than through the crust.”

 

 

Image result for the paris review logo

   The Nationalist Roots of Merriam-Webster's Dictionary  

 Nearly two centuries later, at a time when truth is increasingly undervalued and American exceptionalism is widely embraced, the dictionary takes on fresh significance.

 

Writing (By Outlet)

X

 How women invented book clubs, revolutionizing reading and their   own lives, March 2021

 Denied a teaching job for being ‘too Black,’ she started her own   school —and a movement, February 2021

 He fought for Black voting rights after the Civil War. He was almost killed for it, October 2020

A Puritan Minister Incited Fury by Pushing Inoculation, March 2020

 Why Aren't Women in the U.S. Also Protesting Against Femicide?, March 2020

https://jobs.theguardian.com/getasset/14928961-45c2-4f50-9d05-c150248727e7/;w=600;h=315Trust Your Dog: extraordinary pets help solve crime by finding bodies, February 2020

 The Polanski protests have brought France’s #MeToo reckoning a step closer, March 2020

Related imageWhat It Was Like to Be an LGBTQ Activist Before Stonewall, June 2019

 

 How to Eat Alone (And Like It)October 2019

Finding Open-Minded Health Care Abroad, January 2019

 Tips for  L.G.B.T.Q. Travelers to Visit the World Safely, June 2019                                   

An Online Tool to Catch Workplace Sexual Predators, January 2019

 

Image result for the paris review logoThe Nationalist Roots of Merriam-Webster's Dictionary, March 2018

 

The French Plan to Fix Inequality — By Ignoring It, September 2018

 
Fortune Logo Redesign: Why We Did It | Fortune
 

Why Is Arkansas Rushing to Execute Its Prisoners? April 2017

 

 

 Old Paris Is No More, July 2019 

                               A Flower for Your Thoughts, January 2019

Image result for avidly LARB

 
 
 
 
 
 

 

 A Drive Through the Scottish Highlands, April 2018

Inside the Fight to Keep Liverpool's Punk Scene Alive, January 2018

Palmyra: How a Beloved World Heritage Site Became a Battlefield, February 2017

Explore the Magical Ephemera of New York City's Biggest Prop House, February 2017

A Brief History of the Modern Suitcase, December 2016

Winemakers in Bordeaux Are Reinvigorating Their Traditional Terroir, November 2016

 

Refugee Women Are Carrying More Than An Uncertain Future, April 2016

What A Breakdown Of Free Travel Means For Europe's Economy, March 2016

French Anti-Radicalization Policy Questioned, January 2016

Beer, Wine, And Other Acts Of French Defiance, November 2015

One Syrian's Journey From Aleppo To Paris, November 2015

The Remaking Of Sinn Fein In Northern IrelandOctober 2015

See Jess' full archive from IBT here: http://www.ibtimes.com/reporters/jess-mchugh​

 

The Story Behind the Most Colorful Building in NYC, September 2016

 

Dole Back On Hill to Try and Push Through U.N. Disability Rights Treaty, July 2014

Perry to Texas Reps: Don't Approve Obama Border Proposal, July 2014

 

The Most Dangerous Moves From the Least Dangerous Game, October 2013

 

Writing (By Topic)

X

History

"How women invented book clubs, revolutionizing reading and their own lives," The Washington Post

Denied a teaching job for being ‘too Black,’ she started her own school —and a movement, The Washington Post

He fought for Black voting rights after the Civil War. He was almost killed for it, The Washington Post

The Nationalist Roots of Merriam-Webster's Dictionary, The Paris Review

Old Paris Is No More, Lapham's Quarterly

A Puritan Minister Incited Fury by Pushing InoculationWashington Post

A Flower for Your ThoughtsLapham's Quarterly

The U.S. Census Has a Long History of DiscriminationFortune

Culture

Trust Your Dog: extraordinary pets help solve crime by finding bodies, The Guardian

How to Eat Alone (And Like It)The New York Times

Meet the Woman Who Designed These Modern ClassicsCitylab

Yoga Mats in the Squad Room, Pacific Standard

The Story Behind the Most Colorful Building in NYC, Village Voice

The Most Dangerous Moves From the Least Dangerous Game, The Believer

European Affairs

How 343 Women Made French HistoryTIME

After a Violent Yellow Vest Anniversary, What's Next?  Fortune

Why France Is Losing the War on Anti-Semitism, The New Republic

The French Plan to Fix Inequality — By Ignoring ItThe New Republic

Refugee Women Are Carrying More Than An Uncertain FutureInternational Business Times

What A Breakdown Of Free Travel Means For Europe's EconomyInternational Business Times

Beer, Wine, And Other Acts Of French DefianceInternational Business Times

One Syrian's Journey From Aleppo To ParisInternational Business Times

The Remaking Of Sinn Fein In Northern IrelandInternational Business Times

See Jess' full archive from IBT here: http://www.ibtimes.com/reporters/jess-mchugh​

Women and Identity

Why Aren't Women in the U.S. Also Protesting Against Femicide? Washington Post

An Online Tool to Catch Workplace Sexual PredatorsThe Wall Street Journal

More Companies Are Openly Supporting Abortion Rights. That May Be Controversial, But It’s Also Good BusinessFortune

As abortion restrictions increase, these 10 states are seeking a new route to accessWashington Post's The Lily

Her rape kit sat untested for over 20 years. She’s fighting to make sure that stops happeningWashington Post's The LIly

The Complicated Psychology Behind Bee-Stung Lips, New York Magazine (The Cut)

Surviving Summer TV: Gendered Depictions of PTSD, Avidly (Los Angeles Review of Books)

Policing Language Is Just Another Way to Silence Women, DAME Magazine

What Happens When Women Don't Smile, DAME Magazine

Travel

Finding Open-Minded Health Care Abroad, The New York Times

 Tips for  L.G.B.T.Q. Travelers to Visit the World Safely, The New York Times

A Drive Through the Scottish Highlands, Travel + Leisure

Inside the Fight to Keep Liverpool's Punk Scene Alive, Travel + Leisure

Palmyra: How a Beloved World Heritage Site Became a Battlefield, Travel + Leisure

Explore the Magical Ephemera of New York City's Biggest Prop House,Travel + Leisure

A Brief History of the Modern Suitcase, Travel + Leisure

Winemakers in Bordeaux Are Reinvigorating Their Traditional Terroir, Travel + Leisure

U.S. News and Politics

Migrants, Refugees, Are the Human Cost of Coronavirus, Experts SayFortune

Why Is Arkansas Rushing to Execute Its Prisoners? The Nation

Dole Back On Hill to Try and Push Through U.N. Disability Rights Treaty, CNN

Perry to Texas Reps: Don't Approve Obama Border Proposal, CNN

New Security Measures Could Delay You At the Airport. Here's What to ExpectTIME

Here's How Hotel Security Could Change After the Las Vegas MassacreTravel + Leisure

AMERICANON

X

Americanon by Jess McHugh

Praise for Americanon:, coming JUNE 1, 2021 

 “In an increasingly divided nation, it seems reasonable to ask: What is the glue   that holds us together?  It may be found here, in these bound pages.  Jess   McHugh has written an elegant, meticulously-researched and eminently readable   history of the books that define us as Americans.  For history buffs and book-   lovers alike, McHugh offers us a precious gift, a reminder that our many   narratives are intertwined and that – despite it all – they still bind us together.”—  Jake Halpern, Pulitzer Prize Winner and New York Times Bestselling author          
 
 “With her usual eye for detail and knack for smart storytelling, Jess McHugh   takes a savvy and sensitive look at the ‘secret origins’ of the books that made and   defined us.  As McHugh shows, much of our American canon has to do largely with axe-grinding, reputation, redemption, and, often, who is permitted to tell the story—and you won’t want to miss a one moment of it.”—Brian Jay Jones, author of Becoming Dr. Seuss and the New York Times Bestselling Jim Henson

“We are what we eat, but we are even more what we read. Jess McHugh paints a rich and colorful portrait of America through the popular stories and reference books woven over decades into our cultural DNA. For book-lovers and historians alike, Americanon is a fascinating behind-the-scenes look at how famous books are made, and the lives they live long after they’re printed.”—Daniel Stone, author of The Food Explorer and writer for National Geographic

“What Jess McHugh has done with Americanon is draw a distinct, and necessary, line between our culture and our realities. The myths of what America is and what it means to be an American are strange, pernicious, and often inscrutable, but McHugh has managed a truly remarkable thing: finding actual and honest truth in the midst of it all.”—Jared Yates Sexton, author of American Rule


“Journalist McHugh examines a long bookshelf of didactic books by which Americans have self-educated… A worthy, capably told look at a small canon of works demonstrating how to do well by doing good.”—Kirkus

 

Read more and pre-order here.

Anna Sproul-Latimer of Neon is my literary agent.

Contact

X

Drop me a line!




What's + ?

Twitter

X

Share this site