A Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist who writes frequently about environmental science, Dan Fagin is also a science journalism professor at New York University. His book, Toms River: A Story of Science and Salvation,was awarded the 2014 Pulitzer for General Nonfiction, as well as the New York Public Library’s Helen Bernstein Book Award for Excellence in Journalism, the National Academies Science Book Award, and the Society of Environmental Journalists’ Rachel Carson Environment Book Award. Dan’s recent publications include The New York Times, Scientific American, Nature and Slate. His new book project is about monarch butterflies and the Anthropocene.
Before joining the NYU faculty in 2005, Dan was the environmental writer at Newsday for 15 years, during which time he was twice a principal member of reporting teams that were Pulitzer finalists. He has also won both of the best-known science journalism prizes in the United States: the Science Journalism Award of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the Science in Society Award of the National Association of Science Writers. At NYU, Dan is an associate professor of journalism at the Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute and the director of the masters-level Science, Health and Environmental Reporting Program (SHERP), one of the oldest and best-regarded science journalism training programs in the world.
Toms River: A Story of Science and Salvation was published in 2013 by the Bantam Books division of Random House. The paperback edition, with a new afterword from Dan, was published by Island Press in 2015. A Chinese language version was also published in 2015, by the Shanghai Translation Publishing House. Reviewers have described Toms River as “a new classic of science reporting” (The New York Times), “a gripping environmental thriller” (Kirkus Reviews, starred review), “a crisp, hard-nosed probe into corporate arrogance and the power of public resistance” (Publishers Weekly), “required environmental reading” (The Philadelphia Inquirer), “a triumph” (Nature), “an epic tale of our chemical age” (Carl Zimmer), a “powerful and important book” (Elizabeth Kolbert), and “essential reading for our times” (Siddhartha Mukherjee). NPR and Kirkus both named Toms River one of their best books of 2013. In giving Toms River its nonfiction award, the Pulitzer Board said the book “deftly combines investigative reporting and historical research.” The award citation for the Rachel Carson Environment Book Award called Toms River a “masterpiece” that “embodies Carson’s legacy of deeply insightful, science-based literary prose that helps readers better understand connections between public health and the environment.” Toms River was on several lists of the best books of 2013, including from NPR and Kirkus.
Dan is also the co-author of Toxic Deception (2002, Common Courage Press), which in its original hardcover edition was a finalist for the Investigative Reporters and Editors book prize in 1997. The New York Times called Toxic Deception “the story of the triumph of a special interest over the public interest.”
A native of Oklahoma City, Dan attended Dartmouth College, where he was the editor-in-chief and president of the college newspaper. He spent two years at the Sarasota Herald-Tribune before joining Newsday, where he covered local and state politics before assuming the environment beat, which he covered for 15 years before joining the NYU faculty in 2005. He has been a Templeton-Cambridge Fellow in Science and Religion at the University of Cambridge and has also had fellowships at the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, Massachusetts, and the Institute of Arctic Biology in Toolik Lake, Alaska. Dan is a former president and a proud member of the 1,200-member Society of Environmental Journalists, the oldest and largest association of journalists dedicated to improving the quality, accuracy and visibility of environmental coverage. He lives on Long Island with his wife, the legal journalist Alison Frankel. They have two grown daughters and a surfeit of cats. Dan is represented by Dystel & Goderich Literary Management.