Katherine (Kate) J. Boo (born August 12, 1964) is an American investigative journalist who has documented the lives of people in poverty. She has won the Pulitzer Prize for Public Service (2000), the MacArthur "genius" award (2002), and the National Book Award for Nonfiction (2012). She has been a staff writer for the New Yorker magazine since 2003. Her book Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity won nonfiction prizes from PEN, the Los Angeles Times Book Awards, the New York Public Library, and the American Academy of Arts and Letters, in addition to the National Book Award for Nonfiction.
Boo grew up in and around Washington, D.C. and graduated summa cum laude from Barnard College of Columbia University. Boo is married to Sunil Khilnani, a professor of politics and the director of the India Institute at King's College London.
Boo began her career in journalism with writing and editing positions at Washington's City Paper and then the Washington Monthly. From there she went to the Washington Post, where she worked from 1993 to 2003, first as an editor of the Outlook section and then as an investigative reporter.
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 such classes would help their students 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.
In 2002, Boo was a senior fellow at the New America Foundation, a think tank that has been described as radical centrist in orientation. She won a MacArthur Fellowship in 2002. In 2006, a Haniel Fellowship provided her with a half year of housing at the Hans Arnold Center of the American Academy in Berlin. She was also a fellow of the Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin in 2010. (http://www.wiko-berlin.de/uploads/media/Wiko-JB-2009-10.pdf)
In 2012, Random House published Boo's 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. It won the annual National Book Award for Nonfiction on November 14, 2012.
- 2000 Pulitzer Prize for Public Service
- 2002 MacArthur Fellowship
- 2002 The Hillman Prize
- 2004 National Magazine Award for Feature Writing
- 2012 Samuel Johnson Prize, shortlist, Behind the Beautiful Forevers
- 2012 National Book Award (Nonfiction), Behind the Beautiful Forevers
- 2012 Columbia Journalism Award
- 2013 PEN/John Kenneth Galbraith Award, Behind the Beautiful Forevers
- Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity. New York City: Random House (February 7, 2012). ISBN 978-1-4000-6755-8
- "The 2000 Pulitzer Prize Winners: Public Service". The Pulitzer Prizes. Retrieved 2013-11-01. With reprints of 20 works (articles published by The Washington Post from March 14 to December 22, 1999).
- "Katherine Boo: Contributors". The New Yorker. Retrieved 2003-08-18.
- "The Marriage Cure". The New Yorker. August 18, 2003.
- "After Welfare". The New Yorker. April 9, 2001. Retrieved 2012-02-10.
- "After Welfare". The Hillman Foundation. Retrieved 2010-08-26.
- "Katherine Boo". NewAmerica.net. Retrieved 2010-08-26.
- Morin, Richard; Deane, Claudia (December 10, 2001). "Big Thinker. Ted Halstead’s New America Foundation Has It All: Money, Brains and Buzz". The Washington Post, Style section, p. 1.
- "MacArthur Fellows, September 2002". John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.
- "Applications". American Academy in Berlin. Retrieved 2012-03-10.
- "Katherine Boo – Haniel Fellow, Class of Spring 2007". American Academy in Berlin. Retrieved 2012-03-10.
- Maslin, Janet (January 30, 2012). "All They Hope for Is Survival". The New York Times. Retrieved 2012-02-03.
- Leslie Kaufman (November 14, 2012). "Novel About Racial Injustice Wins National Book Award". The New York Times. Retrieved 2012-11-15.
- Alison Flood (October 5, 2012). "Six books to 'change our view of the world' on shortlist for non-fiction prize". The Guardian. Retrieved 2012-10-05.
- Carolyn Kellogg (August 14, 2013). "Jacket Copy: PEN announces winners of its 2013 awards". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2013-08-14.
- "The Craft of Writing: Katherine Boo", NPR, JENNIFER LUDDEN, October 16, 2004
- "Katherine Boo: Reporting Across the Income Gap", Nieman Conference on Narrative Journalism
- "Boo's Clues", slate, Mickey Kaus, May 18, 2001
- Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Book's website
- NPR-Fresh Air Interview Feb. 8, 2012
- Katherine Boo at Library of Congress Authorities, with 1 catalog records