Barbara Ehrenreich is associate editor at The Baffler. Her latest book is Natural Causes: The Prevalence of Health, Certainty of Death, and Suicide for Longer Lives. She is an investigative journalist, essayist, and activist and the author of 21 books, including Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Living in America and her memoir Living with a Wild God: Unbelievers in Search of Truth. first. She launched an economic hardship reporting project with the Institute for Policy Studies to bring the country’s poverty crisis and economic insecurity to the forefront of the national debate. She was born in a mining town in Montana and now lives in Virginia.
The 2018 Erasmus Prize was awarded to American journalist and author Barbara Ehrenreich (1941). During these six decades, the Foundation has made “The Power of Investigative Journalism” its theme.
A pioneer of the genre of participatory journalism, Barbara Ehrenreich was honored for her courage in putting herself at risk in her journalism. By leading the lives of disadvantaged people, she gives a voice to groups in society that would otherwise be ignored.
Her breakthrough came from her book Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America (2001), for which she spent months trying to earn a living on her own income, working in what society calls an unskilled labor force. She later described the flaws and positive thinking of the American dream in Bait and Switch: The (Flawless) Pursuit of the American Dream (2005), Smile or Die (2009) and Natural Causes (2018) false myth. In 2012, she founded the Economic Hardship Reporting Project, which stimulates and supports journalism about poverty and social inequality through a new generation of journalists.
Ehrenreich’s work includes numerous articles, essays, and books. Recurring themes are: the labor market, health care, poverty and the status of women. Her sharp pen is full of humor. She is also an important voice and an advocate for critical thinking in the current debate on the search for truth. Inspired by empathy and social commitment, she embodies the Erasmus ideals advocated by the foundation.