Jacki Lyden

"I was born a person who would go to the ends of the earth for a story."

As an award winning foreign correspondent, many can instantly recognize Jacki Lyden’s voice; she worked as a news reporter and host for NPR for 35 years. After leaving NPR, she founded her current project, The Seams – a series that looks at clothing as culture, making, wearing, and politics.

In 1997, Jacki published Daughter of the Queen of Sheba, a critically-acclaimed memoir which chronicles her life growing up in the presence of her mother’s profound mental illness. The memoir, which The New York Times described as “vivid, original, lyrical,” was immediately optioned by Wind Dancer Films for Meryl Streep and Gwyneth Paltrow. She has given a myriad of talks on mental illness and still actively partakes in her mother’s care. Her follow up, Sheba, Dark and Lovely, will be released in 2018. In this new memoir, she explores how mental health is impacted with the issues of aging.

An avid traveler, Jacki has been all over the world. From spelunking below Paris to exploring Wisconsin’s oak savannah’s, she is no stranger to adventure and life on the edge. Her experiences from around the globe reinforced her belief in the intersection of fashion and the human experience, inspiring her to create The Seams which appears on NPR.

Jacki regards herself first and foremost as a storyteller and looks for the distinctive human voice in a huge range of national and international stories. She has been awarded the Gracie Award, Peabody Award, and has twice received the Alfred I. duPont-Columbia Award for Broadcasting and Journalism. In 2017, she and her husband, the Washington Post photographer Bill O’Leary, began the writing/photography workshop “Love Comes in at the Eye” in Connemara, Ireland, an annual retreat for fiction and memoir writers and photographers. Jacki divides her time between her residencies in Brooklyn, Maryland, and Wisconsin.

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