Rajiv Chandrasekaran -- an assistant managing editor of The Washington Post and the paper's former Baghdad bureau chief -- somehow found time apart from his day job to write Imperial Life in the Emerald City -- an unprecedented account of life in Baghdad's Green Zone. The moonlighting was well worth it, as it earned him a 2006 National Book Award nomination for his first published book.
Rajiv Chandrasekaran, the author of Imperial Life in the Emerald City, is an assistant managing editor of The Washington Post. He heads the Post's Continuous News department, which reports and edits breaking news stories for washingtonpost.com, and he helps to shape the newspaper's overall multimedia strategy.
From April 2003 to October 2004, he was the Post's bureau chief in Baghdad, where he was responsible for covering the American occupation of Iraq and supervising a team of Post correspondents. He lived in Baghdad for much of the six months before the war, reporting on the United Nations weapons-inspections process and the build-up to the conflict.
He took a sabbatical from the Post in 2005 to serve as the journalist in residence at the International Reporting Project at the Johns Hopkins School for Advanced International Studies in Washington and as a public policy scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center in Washington.
Before the U.S.-led war in Iraq, he was the Post's Cairo bureau chief. Prior to that assignment, he was The Post's Southeast Asia correspondent, based in Jakarta, Indonesia. In the months following September 11, 2001, he was part of a team of Post reporters who covered the war in Afghanistan.
He joined the Post in 1994 as a reporter on the Metropolitan staff. He subsequently served as the paper's Washington-based national technology correspondent. A native of the San Francisco Bay Area, he holds a degree in political science from Stanford University, where he was editor in chief of The Stanford Daily. He lives in Washington, D.C.
Biography courtesy of the author's official web site.
Good To Know
Some interesting outtakes from our interview with Chandrasekaran:
"I've worked for only one employer since graduating from college: The Washington Post. And I hope to spend my entire career there."
"I'm the least educated person in my family. My brother, my father, my uncles and both grandfathers have doctorates. (My brother is on track to get two!) My mother and my maternal grandmother have master's degrees. With just a bachelor's, I'm the black sheep."
"I've wanted to be a newspaper reporter since I was in the 5th grade."
"I couldn't have worked in Baghdad -- and by extension, I couldn't have written Imperial Life in the Emerald City -- without the help of several very brave Iraqis who were my translators, drivers and guards. They are my heroes and I'm eternally grateful to them."