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Economic Opportunity: Jeanne Marie Laskas


Jeanne Marie Laskas

Jeanne Marie Laskas is an American writer and professor. From 1994 until 2008 she was a regular, syndicated columnist for The Washington Post Magazine, where her "Significant Others" essays appeared weekly.  Most of her longform journalism now appears in GQwhere she is a correspondent writing about everything from concussions to migrant workers to hit-men.  Formerly a contributing editor at Esquireand a weekly columnist (“Significant Others”) at The Washington Post Magazine, she has been writing for national magazines for twenty years. She has won more than a dozen Gold Quill awards for Excellence in Journalism, and her piece on coal mining, “Underworld,” was a finalist for the 2007 National Magazine Awards. Laskas serves as Director of The Writing Program at the University of Pittsburgh, where she teaches creative writing, and she lives on a horse farm in Pennsylvania.

Born in 1958, she was educated at Villanova and St. Joseph's University, and then the University of Pittsburgh, where she earned an MFA.

What They are Saying about Hidden America

“Oprah Must-Read Best Book”

“Jeanne Marie Laskas is a reporting and writing powerhouse. She doesn’t just interview the people who dig our coal and extract our oil, she goes deep into the mines and tundra with them. She goes to work nationwide to find the hidden soul of America, the people we depend on most but know the least. Along the way, she reminds us that it’s not what makes our lives function smoothly, but who, how, and at what cost. With beauty, wit, curiosity, and grace, Laskas tells the story of the United States from deep inside the machinery that makes it work. Hidden America is essential reading for anyone who’s ever turned on a light, started a car, thrown away trash, flown on a plane, or eaten a vegetable.”
—REBECCA SKLOOT, Author of The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

“Her attention to detail is vivid. Laskas gives voice—as well as dignity and poetry—to America’s blue-collar ranks.”

“Hearing these voices, it’s impossible not to see the world a little differently.”

“Jeanne Marie Laskas has spent years finding and listening to the people we can’t do without, but sometimes forget are there. She went into the mines with miners, rode the range with the cowboys, talked with air traffic controllers, and went on the road with truckers. What they told her is at once heart-warming, funny, sad, ironic, and, most of all, insightful. She is a wonderful listener who gives us new and better perspective on what keeps America working. A fine piece of reporting and writing – a ride well worth taking.”