Hi! I’m a freelance journalist and book critic for NPR. In the past few years, I’ve written front-page stories about the world’s biggest dictionary and the people working to reconstruct destroyed Stasi surveillance records, met the incarcerated men learning magic tricks by mail, dug into the unexpected life of New York’s plastic bodega bags, visited illegal pirate radio stations in London, taken the world’s longest flight, and written about how language illuminates politics, from “witch hunts” to “influence.” 

At the moment, I’m based in Berlin as an Arthur F. Burns fellow. In Fall 2020, I was living in Munich reporting on the German response to COVID-19, thanks to a grant from the National Geographic Society. 

Here’s an interview with me about getting into book criticism. And you can find me on Twitter or reach me via email at annalisa.quinn [at] gmail.com.

Selected recent work: 

New York Times: In Prison, Learning Magic by Mail 

Financial Times: Visiting galleries one painting at a time with Hisham Matar

New York Times: Piecing Together the History of Stasi Spying

New York Times: Latin Dictionary’s Journey: A to Zythum in 125 Years (and Counting)

Financial Times: Is self-care a salve or a sham? 

New York Times Magazine: What makes something a ‘witch hunt’? 

The Atlantic: Sally Rooney’s love under capitalism 

The Atlantic: Ghost Wall shows the human cost of nativism 

Boston Globe Magazine: We Could Have Had This, Too (on Germany’s response to the pandemic)

Almost everything else can be found here.