Elaine Sciolino is a contributing writer and former Paris bureau chief for The New York Times, based in France since 2002.
Her new book, The Seine: The River That Made Paris, will be published by W.W. Norton & Company on November 5, 2019. Lauren Collins, Paris staff writer for The New Yorker, calls the book “a soulful, transformative voyage along the body of water that defines the City of Light. Elaine Sciolino is the perfect guide to the world’s most romantic river.”
Her previous book, The Only Street in Paris: Life on the Rue des Martyrs, published by W.W. Norton & Company in 2015, was a New York Times best seller. The Wall Street Journal called the book “a sublime stroll…elegiac;” The New York Times wrote that “she has Paris at her feet;” the Chicago Tribune called her “a storyteller at heart.”
Sciolino was decorated chevalier of the Legion of Honor, the highest honor of the French state, in 2010 for her “special contribution” to the friendship between France and the United States.
In 2019, Sciolino became a member of the Advisory Board of Reporters Without Borders, the Paris-based international advocacy organization promoting freedom of information and freedom of the press. In 2018, she received an honorary Doctor of Literature degree from the University of London.
In the spring term 2017, Sciolino taught as a Ferris Professor of Journalism at Princeton University’s Council of the Humanities, a post she held in the fall of 2010. She is a member of the Advisory Council of Princeton’s French and Italian Departments.
In 2015 she served as the expert lecturer on the first New York Times-led tour to Iran and has led six New York Times’ tours to Iran. She currently is an expert lecturer on New York Times-led tours to Provence.
Sciolino’s 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.
Her book, Persian Mirrors: The Elusive Face of Iran, was published by The Free Press in 2000 and updated in a new edition in 2005. During the Persian Mirrors project, she received fellowships from the United States Institute of Peace, the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, and 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 was 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 held several posts, including United Nations’ bureau chief, Central Intelligence Agency correspondent, culture correspondent, chief diplomatic correspondent (the first woman to hold that post), and Paris Bureau Chief. She also served as The New York Times’ European investigative correspondent with responsibility for coverage of terrorism in Europe and Iran’s nuclear program.
For the 2010-2011 academic year, Sciolino was 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.
Born in Buffalo, New York, she graduated summa cum laude from Canisius College and received a master’s degree in French History from New York University. She also holds honorary doctorate degrees from Syracuse University’s Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, Canisius College, and Dowling College. She is one of the only American members of Femmes Forum, a Paris-based private club of 200 of the leading women of France.
Sciolino lives in Paris with her husband, Andrew Plump, an attorney. They have two daughters, Alessandra and Gabriela Plump.