Ayaan Hirsi Ali is a Somali-Dutch women’s rights activist and writer who has published two memoirs, Infidel and Nomad. Now a fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, she reflects on finding refuge in the U.S. “I am aware of the problems we have in America,” she says, “but it is the one place in the world I want to be.”
Andrew Beahrs (“Heaven on the Half Shell,”) writes often about the intersection of food and history. In his book Twain’s Feast he recreated regional American foods from a list of favorites that Mark Twain compiled in 1879. He has also written two novels, Strange Saint and The Sin Eaters.
Stephen Dunn (“The Chicken and the Egg,”) is the author of 16 books of poetry, including Different Hours, which was awarded the 2001 Pulitzer Prize. His most recent book is the 2011 Here and Now.
Lolis Eric Elie, a native of New Orleans, is a journalist, filmmaker and writer. A former columnist for the Times-Picayune and writer of the 2008 documentary Faubourg Treme, he is now the story editor for the HBO drama “Treme.” In “The Unified Theory of Gumbo,” he considers his city’s iconic dish. “For most New Orleanians I know,” he says, “gumbo is the equivalent of the Thanksgiving turkey.”
Tony Horwitz makes his debut in this issue as our American history columnist (“Remember the Raisin!”). He is the author of seven books, including the 2011 Midnight Rising: John Brown and the Raid That Sparked the Civil War. He has written for the New Yorker and the Wall Street Journal, where he was awarded the 1995 Pulitzer Prize for stories about the harsh conditions faced by low-wage U.S. workers.
Maira Kalman (“Those (Waxed Fruit) Times,”) is an artist, author and designer widely known for her children’s books and New Yorker covers. Among her many projects are illustrations for Strunk and White’s The Elements of Style and a new edition of Michael Pollan’s Food Rules.
Corby Kummer (“Can Technology Save Breakfast?”), a writer and editor at the Atlantic since 1981, has been called “a dean among food writers in America” by the San Francisco Chronicle. The author of two books, The Joy of Coffee and The Pleasures of Slow Food, he is also a restaurant critic for Boston Magazine and the recipient of five James Beard Journalism Awards, given for the best writing about food.
Tim O’Brien is a portrait painter and illustrator whose work has been featured on U.S. postage stamps (the Judy Garland and Hattie McDaniel issues). He created this month’s cover image as well as the Titanic illustration on our March cover.
Ruth Reichl (“Sur la Table,”) is one of the country’s most prominent food writers and restaurant critics. The author of four critically acclaimed memoirs and three cookbooks, she has received six James Beard Journalism Awards, and was the editor in chief of Gourmet magazine from 1999 to 2009.
Amy Scattergood (“A Wine and a Prayer,”), a poet and food writer, is a graduate of both Yale Divinity School and the California School of Culinary Arts. A former staff writer at the Los Angeles Times, she is now the food editor of L.A. Weekly and contributes to its food blog, “Squid Ink.”
Mimi Sheraton (“Salts of the Earth,”) has been writing about food for five decades. She has served as a food critic for the New York Times, Time and other publications and is the author of 16 books, including the 2006 memoir Eating My Words: An Appetite for Life.