On My Radar: Andrea Elliott’s Cultural Landmarks | culture

Born in Washington, D.C. in 1972, journalist Andrea Elliott He is an investigative reporter for The New York Times. She won the Pulitzer Prize for Feature Writing in 2007 for her series Imam in Americaand the 2022 Pulitzer Prize for her nonfiction invisible child. The original 2013 series, about a schoolgirl’s experience of homelessness in New York City, won the George Polk Award, and in 2015 Elliott was awarded the Columbia University Medal of Excellence. Paperback from invisible child out now.

1. art

Children’s Games: Francis Alice

Children's Toy No. 27: Ruby, Tabacongo, Democratic Republic of the Congo, 2021. Photo by Francis Alice in collaboration with Julien Defoe and Felix Blum.
Children’s Toy No. 27: Ruby, Tabacongo, Democratic Republic of the Congo, 2021. In collaboration with Julien Defoe and Felix Blum. Photo: © Frances Ellis

Every now and then, a work of art takes me hostage. It happened in June at the Venice Biennale when I saw an exhibition by Belgian artist Francis Alice, which depicts children playing in the Global South. Each movie is a world unto itself – boys kicking bottles in Mexico City (where the Alÿs live); children playing hopscotch in an Iraqi refugee camp; Children roll in the tires of a desolate cobalt mine in Congo. I never cease to be amazed at children’s ability to invent – how they arrive at Marvel from the darkest corners of the damaged world.

2. Place

Wayag Island, West Papua

Atolls in Wayag Island:
The atolls of Wayag Island: “Maybe the most breathtaking place on Earth.” Photography: El Alamy

If you had told me a few years ago that I would take three planes, followed by a two-day boat—all to get to an uninhabited island before climbing to its peak, I would have been blown away. Working moms have so little time to travel that the “getting there” part of the trip should be short. But last month (after completing a nine-year book project while raising two girls) I gave up on this very journey, arriving in perhaps the most exciting place on earth. If you can see it in your life, go for it.

3. film


“Extremely Beautiful”: Bill Nighy on Living. Photo: Al Boom/Alami

This is one of the most beautiful movies I’ve ever seen. Adapted from the movie Akira Kurosawa Ekiru Written by novelist Kazuo Ishiguro, and starring Bill Nighy, it’s like a dream you can’t shake. Nighy plays a man who finally comes back to life at the end of his obedient life, forcing us to rethink what it means to leave a lasting legacy. I’ve spent the past year grieving the unexpected deaths of my father and brother, and that’s where this movie came as a sublime gift. The music and cinematography are also amazing.

Cover image for Rough Sleepers by Tracy Kidder

4. book

Rough Sleepers by Tracy Kidder

Bums exist in subtle forms. They move between shelters. They live double with relatives. Even the most obvious among them – the street homeless – are dismissed as irredeemable, as hopeless, making it easier for busy urbanites to overtake them on the sidewalk. It is impossible to read Tracy Kidder’s book and remain asleep in their world. In his latest triumph of narrative fiction, an author Mountains behind mountains He takes us deeper into the lives of Boston’s “hard sleepers” and the unforgettable doctor who sets out to bring them in for healing, only to find his life changed.

5. Podcast

We were three

Poet Rachel McKibbens with her father and brother.
Poet Rachel McKibbens with her father and brother. Photo: NYT

If you want to get lost in a podcast, but don’t also Lost, here’s a three-episode gem that will briefly take you into the life of a California-born poet named Rachel McKibbens, whose father and brother died in quick succession from Covid after refusing a vaccination. I found myself addicted to telling this story that explores trauma, violence, loss, and grief with nuance and rare intimacy.

6. Music

Lily May

Electrification: Lily Mae. Photo: Stephen Friedman/Getty Images

Over the summer, I took my little tribe—my daughters, mom, brother, friend—to a festive farm gathering on Long Island. As the sun set, a Nashville singer-songwriter named Lilly Mae took to the stage with her small group—two brothers and her guitarist husband. As soon as they started playing, my heart jumped. It turns out that Lily Mae is a fiddler of great renown (she has toured with Jack White). And like my favorite musicians—from Prince to Liane La Havas—she defies categorization. I’d put it in the “electrified” type.

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