Author Profile

Silja J.A. Talvi

Silja J.A. Talvi, a senior editor at In These Times, is an investigative journalist and essayist with credits in many dozens of newspapers and magazines nationwide, including The Nation, Salon, Santa Fe Reporter, Utne, and the Christian Science Monitor.

Ms. Talvi is the recipient of multiple national and regional awards, including 12 awards from the Society of Professional Journalists (Pacific Northwest); a New American Media Award for Immigration-related reporting; as well as five consecutive national awards for magazine reporting from the National Council on Crime and Delinquency (NCCD).

Her book, Women Behind Bars: The Crisis of Women in the U.S. Prison System was published in November 2007 (Seal Press, an imprint of Perseus.) In March 2008, Talvi’s book received the PASS (Prevention for a Safer Society) literary award from the NCCD. She now heads the Women Behind Bars Project, a sponsored project of the Seattle-based Center for Social Justice.

Ms. Talvi’s articles on social issues—with a particular emphasis on criminal justice, ethnicity and gender—have garnered a dozen Society of Professional Journalists Western Washington regional awards. Talvi was honored in 2006 to receive a New American Media award for immigration-related reporting. In 2005, 2006 and 2007, she received five consecutive PASS award from the National Council on Crime and Delinquency for a wide range of investigative magazine features, including the impact of Three Strikes sentencing on African American men; an undercover story about the American Correctional Association, Taser weaponry; and the interstate transfer of prisoners. All but one of these stories first appeared in ITT.

Born in Helsinki, Finland, and raised in Hollywood, California, Talvi earned her BA with Honors in Ethnic Studies in 1991, from Mills College in Oakland, California. She was then admitted into the first graduate program in Women Studies at San Francisco State University, completing her master’s thesis in 1993 about Israeli and Palestinian women.

Since 1996, Talvi has been a full-time journalist and essayist, reporting from areas as diverse as the San Francisco Bay Area, Silicon Valley, New Mexico, Los Angeles, the Puget Sound, as well as Western and Eastern portions of Washington State. Internationally, she has reported from Europe, the Caribbean, Canada and Mexico. She currently lives in the Central District of Seattle.

Talvi’s essays, investigations and articles have appeared in the following book anthologies: Prison Profiteers: Who Benefits from Mass Imprisonment (New Press); The W Effect: Bush’s War on Women (The Feminist Press);  Prison Nation: The Warehousing of America’s Poor (Routledge); Economics Now (Oxford University Press); Body Outlaws: Young Women Talk About Body Image and Identity (Seal Press); Readings for the 21st Century (Allyn & Bacon/Simon & Schuster Education Group); and It’s So You: Women Write about Personal Expression through Fashion & Style (Seal Press).