February 5, 2019 — I'm the grateful recipient of an SEJ Fund for Environmental Journalism travel grant. SEJ's generous support allowed me to go to India to report on air pollution. In addition to the stories it enabled me to write for the New York Times, the Guardian and Smithsonian at the time, that grant was the first step in my work on a book about air pollution.
Today I am so proud to say that that book — "Choked: Life and Breath in the Age of Air Pollution" — will be published in April, by the University of Chicago Press. The book is also being published in the U.K. (by Granta Books) and in translation in Polish, Korean and Chinese.
It is no exaggeration to say that the SEJ’s support was central to my being able to get this project off the ground. "Choked" includes two chapters based on my reporting from India. Having that material — and those published stories — in my book proposal gave the project credibility that was essential to my being signed by an agent and securing a publishing contract. At every step of that process, I mentioned SEJ's support, and my agent did too, because the imprimatur of SEJ made the journalistic merits of the project clear to everyone who saw it.
Another way in which SEJ helped this book come about is that the SEJ mentor program connected me several years ago to Lisa Palmer. Lisa has been so generous in sharing her advice and experiences of the book publishing world with me. And she also introduced me to her agent, who became my agent and got me a publisher!
I'm so grateful to be a part of SEJ — it’s helped me make so many wonderful connections with other journalists. It is hard for me to thank everyone at SEJ enough for helping to make this book possible. I hope you’ll enjoy reading it!
Choked: Life and Breath in the Age of Air Pollution (US)
Choked: The Age of Air Pollution and the Fight for a Cleaner Future (UK)
Out in April 2019. Now available for pre-order.