Mara Hvistendahl is a magazine writer and the author of the acclaimed book Unnatural Selection, which was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize. Her articles and book reviews have been published in The Atlantic, The New York Times, Popular Science, Scientific American, The Wall Street Journal, WIRED, and other publications. She has been a keynote speaker at conferences, testified before the Congressional-Executive Commission on China, and appeared on Al Jazeera, BBC, CBC, MSNBC, NPR, and other radio and television outlets.
A founding member of Deca, a cooperative of award-winning writers creating narrative journalism about the world, Mara sits on the advisory board of Round Earth Media, an organization that promotes international journalism by training young reporters around the world. She is the former China bureau chief for Science. Her work has been supported by New America, where she was a National Fellow, and by the Minnesota State Arts Board.
For eight years, Mara was based in Shanghai. While there she taught journalism at Fudan University, wrote the longform true crime story And The City Swallowed Them, and, thanks to paleobotanist Wang Jun, had a Paleozoic fossil named after her. She is currently writing a book on industrial espionage, China, and the FBI for Riverhead (Penguin Random House). She lives in Minneapolis with her family.