Jack Hitt

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Jack Hitt is an American author. He is a contributing editor to Harper's, The New York Times Magazine, and This American Life; he has also written for the now-defunct magazine Lingua Franca, and his work frequently appears in such publications as Outside Magazine, Rolling Stone, and Wired. In 1990, he received the Livingston Award for national coverage.[1][2] More recently, a piece on the anthropology of white Indians[which?] was selected for Best American Science Writing,[when?] and another piece about dying languages[which?] appeared in Best American Travel Writing.[when?] Another piece, on the existential life of a superfund site, was included in Ira Glass's The New Kings of Nonfiction (2007).[3]


Early life[edit]

Hitt was born and raised in Charleston, South Carolina, where he attended the Porter-Gaud School. He got his start in journalism as editor of the Paper Clip, the literary magazine of Porter-Gaud's first through fifth grades. According to his biography, he published "some of the finest haiku penned by well-off pre-teens in all of South Carolina's lowcountry".[citation needed]

Writing and journalism career[edit]

Since 1996, Hitt has also been a contributing editor to the radio series This American Life. He contributed a story about a production of Peter Pan in an episode entitled "Fiasco". Other pieces include "Dawn", about his life growing up with Dawn Langley Simmons (an early recipient of sex reassignment surgery), a 12-minute piece in episode 216 ("Give the People What They Want"), titled "How America Actually Got Its Name",[4] an hour-long program on a group of prisoners in a maximum security prison staging a production of Hamlet (“Act V”, episode #218), a segment on voter fraud in the 2008 American Presidential election ("Cold-cock The Vote", #276), another episode about his life in a New York apartment building in which his superintendent turned out to be the head of a death squad in Brazil (“The Super”, #323), and more recently a segment on the prisoners in Guantanamo Bay called "Habeas Schmabeas" (#331). This last program earned him the Peabody Award in 2007.[citation needed]

Since 2007, Hitt has been one of two regular US correspondents on Nine to Noon, hosted by Kathryn Ryan on Radio New Zealand National.[citation needed]

Jack is currently performing in a one man show he wrote, called Making Up The Truth, about his childhood and the outlandish characters he's met in his life.[5]


Hitt was also a consultant for the movie Hackers (1995), regarding techniques of cyber crime.

Personal life[edit]

He is married to the physician and writer Lisa Sanders.[6]


  • Bunch of Amateurs: A Search for the American Character (2012) ISBN 0-307-39375-5
  • In a Word: A Dictionary of Words That Don't Exist, But Ought To (1992) ISBN 0-440-50358-2
  • Off the Road: A Modern-Day Walk Down the Pilgrim’s Route into Spain (1994)[7]
  • Perfect Murder: Five Great Mystery Writers Create the Perfect Crime (1991), by Jack Hitt (Author), Lawrence Block (Author), Sarah Caudwell (Author) & Tony Hillerman (Contributor) ISBN 978-0060163402
  • What Are We Talking About?: The Harper's Forum Book (1991), by Jack Hitt (Author), Jack Hill (Author) & Lewis H. Lapman (Introduction) ISBN 978-0806512303


  1. ^ "Livingston Awards – Past Winners". Livingston Awards. Retrieved March 3, 2011. 
  2. ^ Zernike (June 7, 1991). "Winners Are Selected For Livingston Awards". The New York Times. Retrieved March 3, 2011. 
  3. ^ The New Kings of Nonfiction (First ed.). Riverhead Books. 2007. ISBN 978-1594482670. 
  4. ^ "Give the People What They Want". This American Life. 
  5. ^ "Making Up The Truth". The Jack Hitt Play. 
  6. ^ Max, Jill (Spring 2008). "A doctor's passion for medical storytelling". Yale Medicine. 42 (3). Retrieved February 27, 2013. 
  7. ^ Hitt, Jack (1994). Off the Road: A Modern-Day Walk Down the Pilgrim’s Route into Spain. 

External links[edit]