Nina Burleigh's Biography


Nina Burleigh is a best-selling author, journalist and documentary producer. Her latest book, VIRUS: Vaccinations, the CDC and the Hijacking of America's Response to the Pandemic, is a brisk, real-life thriller that delves into the malfeasance behind the American pandemic chaos, and the triumph of science in an era of conspiracy theories and contempt for experts. She is an executive producer on the docuseries Epstein's Shadow: Ghislaine Maxwell, streaming on Peacock and Sky.

Burleigh got her start covering the Illinois Statehouse in Springfield, where the governorship often included a fitting for the prison stripes. She has reported from almost every state in the Continental U.S., written hundreds of works of journalism, essays and book reviews, on a wide array of topics including culture, politics, gender issues, science, and the environment. Two of her magazine articles were made into dramatic productions.

Many of her books explore the tension between belief and science, religion and rationality in post-Enlightenment life, including 1830s American politics, among post-revolutionary French scientists in Egypt, Cold War era CIA conspiracy theories, fake Biblical archaeology in Jerusalem today, and the role of faith versus science in an Italian courtroom. She has also written about points where art, nature, history, and science intersect. In Mirage, she told the story of the scientists and artists behind the first great study of modern Islam and ancient Egypt, Description de l'Egypte, a landmark work of art and publishing produced by the scientists who went to Egypt with Napoleon in 1800. Her book Unholy Business is a Maltese Falcon style crime caper about a gang of forgers accused of applying new technology to alter and sell archaeological relics.

A fellow of the Explorers Club, she has covered stories on six continents. She has published works about the Arctic and the Antarctic, the Amazon, where she wrote an essay about women, nature, and the human culture along the Amazon River in Peru and ayahuasca culture in Iquitos, posh Lagos, racism and rhino poaching in South Africa. She has written cover stories for Newsweek on Trump and Women, Trump as a tool of the New York billionaires, Trump and Evangelicals, Trump and the Law, Facebook and political big data mining, the #metoo movement, the melting of Antarctica, sea level rise in Florida, asteroid defense schemes and other current events.

She has judged the J. Anthony Lukas Prize Project Awards for nonfiction, and won several awards for her journalism and books. She was writer in residence at the Siena Art Institute in 2013 attached to the Above/Below Ground project with Mark Dion and Amy Yoes, including a symposium on the Art and Science of The Expedition. She was a Dora Maar Fellow in the arts in Menerbes, France, in 2014, where she worked on a novel. Mirage was selected by The New York Times as an editors' choice and won the Society of Women Educators' Award.

Her writing has appeared in numerous publications including Rolling Stone, The New Yorker, Time, New York, The New York Times, Slate and Bustle. She has appeared on Good Morning America, Nightline, The Today Show, 48 Hours, MSNBC, CNN and C-Span, on NPR and many podcasts.

Nina was born and educated in the Midwest, has been based in Washington, D.C., New York, and Paris, and has traveled and reported extensively in the Middle East and lived in Italy and France. She has been an adjunct professor at Columbia Graduate School of Journalism, a universitetlektor at the University of Agder in Norway and has lectured around the United States, in Italy, and in Mexico. She is adjunct professor at NYU's Arthur J. Carter Journalism Institute beginning in 2021. According to Google Scholar, her work has been cited in hundreds of scholarly articles.

Her latest book, The Trump Women: Part of the Deal, has been covered in The New York Times, New York Post, Entertainment Tonight, BBC, MSNBC, Yahoo and many other media outlets.

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Reviews for The Fatal Gift of Beauty: The Italian Trials of Amanda Knox.

"Clear-eyed, sweeping, honest and tough, Nina Burleigh's autopsy of one of the most compelling criminal dramas of our time sets a standard that any of the other other chroniclers of this tale have yet to meet. The story of Amanda Knox is part Salem witch trial, part cultural misunderstanding of an epic sort, and part vendetta. Burleigh found the universal elements of a junior year abroad that shook the world, and she brings them home without sentimentality nor an axe to grind. This is what long-form narrative journalism is all about."- Tim Egan, New York Times

"An essential read for anyone interested in this case. More than a murder story, is a look into the dark and complex soul of Italy itself."--Douglas Preston, co-author of The Monster of Florence

"Stirring, compelling, and in the end a tragic tale worthy of Italian opera." --Joe McGinniss, author of Fatal Vision, The Miracle of Castel Di Sangro and The Rogue

"The global media, in its frenzied coverage of the sensational Amanda Knox murder trial, overlooked what Nina Burleigh has skillfully unearthed and analyzed--a compelling chain of evidence, subtle levels of significance. Her telling of the tale is clearly the only one that gets it right."--John Berendt, author of The City of Falling Angels and Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil

"A lucid, fair-minded account of the case. She shows, quite convincingly, that Knox and her co-defendant have been victims of a serious miscarriage of justice. Perhaps more importantly, she explains why, showing the case to be the product of cultural misunderstanding between Italy and the U.S."--Alexander Stille, author of The Sack of Rome

"[In] this powerful example of narrative non-fiction...Burleigh, who parses how the Knox trial was perhaps tainted, still presents a fair and unbiased portrait of a girl adrift in a foreign legal system and a culture rife with preconceptions about young American women." --Publishers Weekly, Starred Review

"Burleigh's propulsive narrative and the many unsettling aspects of the case make this a standout among recent true-crime titles."--Kirkus Reviews

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