Contributor to PRI's The World
I actually started my career as an indie-rock singer and spent most of my time in far-flung bars and basements from Olympia, Washington to Arkhangelsk, Russia, where I was psyched to learn there are rock clubs even in the Arctic Circle. Perhaps it was these years spent in distant hidey-holes singing to four forlorn Swedes that keeps me inspired, as a writer, to seek out stories that are unusual, arcane and perhaps interesting only to me.
In addition to reporting for PRI's The World, I am the author of the essay collection, You Must Go and Win, and the novel, Note to Self (both published by Faber). My writing has also appeared in The New York Times, New York Times Magazine and The Wall Street Journal, among other places.
Arts, Culture & Media
A new museum of KGB objects has opened its doors in New York. Of the 3,500 pieces on display, only two are reproductions.
The World in Words
Alina Simone was born in the Soviet Union to Russian-speaking parents. She has given up on passing the language on to her daughter.
Many Russians perceive Donald Trump as an American version of Vladimir Putin. It's partly based on Trump's bombastic rhetoric, but also on how his speeches and tweets are translated into Russian.
Linguist Edward Vajda went to Siberia with a hunch. He returned with evidence linking a remote Siberian language with Navajo and other Athabaskan languages.
The first ransomware virus was unleashed in 1989 — so WannaCry is hardly a new idea. But it has some novel techniques.