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Sonia Nazario has written about social issues for more than two decades, most recently as a projects reporter for the Los Angeles Times. She holds the distinctions of winning the 2003 Pulitzer Prize for Feature Writing, and of being the youngest writer to be hired by the Wall Street Journal.
She grew up both in Kansas and Argentina. She permanently moved to the U.S. as the Dirty War happening in Argentina.
She is a graduate of Williams College and holds a master's degree in Latin American Studies from the University of California, Berkeley. She received an honorary doctorate in 2010 from Mt. St. Mary’s College.
Nazario serves on the advisory boards of the University of North Texas Mayborn Literary Non-fiction Writer's Conference and of Catch the Next, a non-profit working to double the number of Latinos enrolling in college. She is also on the board of Kids In Need of Defense, a non-profit launched by Microsoft and Angelina Jolie to provide pro-bono attorneys to unaccompanied immigrant children.
Career in Los Angeles
After leaving the Wall Street Journal for a second time, Nazario joined the Los Angeles Times in 1993 to write about social issues, including those dealing with Latinos and Latin America. The following year, she won a George Polk Award for Local Reporting for a series about hunger among schoolchildren in California.
In 1998, Nazario was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Feature Writing for her story about what life is like for the children of drug addicts. Her photographer for the project, Clarence Williams, did win the Pulitzer Prize for Feature Photography for photos taken to accompany the story.
In 2002, Nazario finished work on a six-part series, entitled Enrique's Journey, about the experiences of Latin American children who immigrate to join their parents in the U.S. The newspaper series won more than a dozen national journalism awards, among them the Pulitzer Prize for Feature Writing, the George Polk Award for International Reporting, the Grand Prize of the Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award, and the National Assn. of Hispanic Journalists Guillermo Martinez-Marquez Award for Overall Excellence. The story also garnered the Pulitzer Prize for Feature Photography for her accompanying photographer, Don Bartletti.
In 2006 Nazario published a book, Enrique's Journey, which significantly expanded her newspaper series. It became a national bestseller and won two book awards. It has been published in eight languages and has been adopted by 54 universities and scores of high schools nationwide as their "freshman read" or "all-campus read." In the fall of 2010, it was the second most-chosen book for freshman or all-campus reads at universities across the country.
Nazario is at work on her second book for Random House.