Award-Winning Author to Speak at President’s Convocation
Aug. 30, 2016
BLOOMINGTON, Ill.— Author and journalist Jenny Nordberg will speak Sept. 14 at the
President’s Convocation at Illinois Wesleyan University. Nordberg is the author of
The Underground Girls of Kabul, which was selected for the University’s Summer Reading Program.
Nordberg’s book is based on her extensive research and reporting inside a war zone
on the practice of “bacha posh” – how girls grow up disguised as boys in gender-segregated
Afghanistan. In 2010, Nordberg broke the story to a global audience in her work published
in The New York Times and The International Herald Tribune. The practice of "bacha posh," which had never been previously documented, offers
new and previously unknown details about Afghanistan and the inner workings of the
deeply conservative society. Nordberg’s book raises new and profound questions about
gender in children and teens, nature versus nurture, religion, sexuality, and what
roles women play during war. The book has won numerous awards, including the J. Anthony
Lukas Book Prize and a Publishers Weekly Best Book of 2014. Nordberg has also developed the website bachaposh.com as an online resource for girls who have grown up as boys due to segregation.
Nordberg is an award-winning journalist and foreign correspondent, columnist and television
producer. Together with The New York Times’ investigative unit, she worked on projects such as the examination of the American
freight railroad system, a series that won the Pulitzer Prize for National Reporting.
Also with the Times, she worked on a project on U.S. efforts at exporting democracy to Haiti. She has
produced and written several documentaries for American television, and she is also
a member of the first investigative team at Swedish Broadcasting’s national radio
division, where she supervised projects on terrorism and politics. She has won awards
from Investigative Reporters and Editors and the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice
and Human Rights. Nordberg holds a B.A.in law and journalism from Stockholm University,
and an M.A. from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism.
The President’s Convocation, which begins at 11 a.m. in Presser Hall’s Westbrook Auditorium
(1210 N. Park St., Bloomington), traditionally opens the academic year at Illinois
Wesleyan. Nordberg’s address is free and open to the public. She will also sign copies
of the book at 1 p.m. Sept. 14 in the Memorial Center Young Main Lounge.