Helen Benedict is a professor at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism and the author of six novels and five books of nonfiction. Her latest novel, Sand Queen, about two women on opposite sides of the Iraq War, was called “one of this year’s best new novels about war” by NPR’s To the Best of Our Knowledge. The Boston Globe said of it, “This is ‘The Things They Carried’’ for women in Iraq.”
Benedict’s last nonfiction book was The Lonely Soldier: The Private War of Women Serving in Iraq, the research for which informed Sand Queen and her play, The Lonely Soldier Monologues, which was produced in New York to critical acclaim and which she donates to campuses and veteran’s organizations all over the country for educational purposes. It is to be performed at the History Theatre in St. Paul, Minn. for the month of March, 2013.
In 2013, Benedict was named one of the 21 Leaders for the 21st Century by Women’s eNews in 2013, and has won four awards for her work on women in the military: the Ida B. Wells Award for Bravery in Journalism in 2013; the Exceptional Merit in Media Award from the National Women’s Political Caucus and the Ken Book Award in 2010; and the James Aronson Award for Social Justice Journalism. Benedict’s writings inspired an ongoing class action suit against the Pentagon on behalf of women and men who were sexually assaulted in the military, and also inspired the award-winning documentary The Invisible War, in which she appears. Benedict has testified twice to Congress on behalf of women veterans, consulted for the Women, War & Peace series on PBS in 2011, and is featured in two documentaries on women at war.