Katherine Boo is an American investigative journalist who has documented the lives of people in poverty. Katherine grew up in Washington, D.C. and graduated summa cum laude from Barnard College and began her career in journalism with editorial positions at Washington’s City Paper and then the Washington Monthly. From there she went to the Washington Post, serving first as an editor in the Outlook section, then as an investigative reporter from 1993 to 2003.
In 2000, her series for the Post about group homes for intellectually disabled people won the Pulitzer Prize for Public Service. The Pulitzer judges noted that her work “disclosed wretched neglect and abuse in the city’s group homes for the intellectually disabled, which forced officials to acknowledge the conditions and begin reforms.”
In 2003, she joined the staff of The New Yorker, to which she had been contributing since 2001. One of her subsequent New Yorker articles, “The Marriage Cure,” won the National Magazine Award for Feature Writing in 2004. The article chronicled state-sponsored efforts to teach poor people in an Oklahoma community about marriage in hopes that the classes would help people avoid or escape poverty. Another of Boo’s New Yorker articles, “After Welfare,” won the 2002 Sidney Hillman Award, which honors articles that advance the cause of social justice.
She was a senior fellow at the New America Foundation, from 2002 through 2006. In 2002, she won a MacArthur Fellowship.
In 2012, Boo published her first book Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity, a non-fiction account of life in the Annawadi slums of Mumbai, India. The book, which was a finalist for a Pulitzer Prize in Nonfiction, also won nonfiction prizes from PEN, the Los Angeles Times Book Awards, the New York Public Library and the American Academy of Arts and Letters.
She is married to Sunil Khilnani, a writer and professor who directs the King’s India Institute at King’s College London.
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