Author photo: Gabriela Sciolino Plump
Elaine Sciolino is a contributing writer and former Paris bureau chief for The New York Times, and a regular contributor to Travel & Leisure magazine, based in France since 2002. Her new book, The Only Street in Paris: Life on the Rue des Martyrs, published by W.W. Norton & Co. in November 2015, was a New York Times best seller. The Wall Street Journal called the book “a sublime stroll…elegiac;” The New York Times said that “she has Paris at her feet;” the Chicago Tribune called Sciolino “a storyteller at heart.” The Telegraph listed it as one of the best books of the year.
In 2015 she served as the expert lecturer on the first New York Times-led tour to Iran, and will have led five New York Times’ tours to Iran by the end of 2016.
In 2010, she was decorated a chevalier of the Legion of Honor, the highest honor of the French state, for her “special contribution” to the friendship between France and the United States. For the fall term 2010, she was a Ferris Professor of Journalism at Princeton University’s Council of the Humanities; she will return to Princeton as a Ferris Professor in the spring term 2017. For the 2010-2011 academic year, she was also a Visiting Scholar at the Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute at New York University. In the spring of 2014, she was a writing fellow at the Civitella Ranieri Foundation in Umbertide, Italy.
Her previous book, La Seduction: How the French Play the Game of Life, was published by Henry Holt/Times Books in 2011. The book was named one of the best books of 2011 by The New York Times T Magazine. La séduction, comment les Français jouent au jeu de la vie, the French edition, was published by Presses de la Cité in 2012.
Her book, Persian Mirrors: The Elusive Face of Iran, was first published by The Free Press in 2000 and updated in a new edition in 2005. During the Persian Mirrors project, she was a Senior Fellow at the United States Institute of Peace, a Public Policy Scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars and the winner of a writing fellowship from the Open Society Institute. Persian Mirrors was awarded the 2001 New York Public Library Helen Bernstein Book Award for Excellence in Journalism and the Overseas Press Club Cornelius Ryan Citation for nonfiction. It was also a History Book Club selection and a New York Times Notable Book for 2000.
In 2001, Sciolino received The Distinguished Public Service Award for “outstanding contributions to international affairs,” and the Excellence in Journalism Award “in recognition of outstanding contributions to international affairs reporting and commentary” from the U.S. Secretary of State’s Open Forum Program. She was also honored by Columbia University’s Encyclopedia Iranica project “for presenting the best of Iran to the world” and elected to the Executive Council of the Society for Iranian Studies that year.
Her first book, The Outlaw State: Saddam Hussein’s Quest for Power and the Gulf Crisis, was published by John Wiley & Sons in 1991 and was a Book-of-the-Month Club selection. Sciolino began her journalism career as a researcher at Newsweek Magazine in New York, later becoming national correspondent in Chicago, foreign correspondent in Paris, bureau chief in Rome and roving international correspondent. Sciolino was the Edward R. Murrow Press Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations in 1982-1983, the first woman to receive that honor.
She joined The New York Times in 1984, where she has held a number of posts, including United Nations’ bureau chief, Central Intelligence Agency correspondent, Culture correspondent and chief diplomatic correspondent – the first woman to hold that post – and Paris Bureau Chief. She has also served as The New York Times’ European investigative correspondent with responsibility for coverage of both terrorism in Europe and Iran’s nuclear program.
Born in Buffalo, New York, she graduated summa cum laude from Canisius College and received a master’s degree in European History from New York University. She holds honorary doctorate degrees from Syracuse University’s Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, Canisius College and Dowling College. She is the only American member of Femmes Forum, a Paris-based private club of 200 of the leading women living in France.
Sciolino lives in Paris with her husband, Andrew Plump, an attorney. They have two daughters, Alessandra and Gabriela Plump.