Penguin Speakers Bureau

Blaine Harden

Journalist and Author of Escape from Camp 14


Blaine Harden is an author and journalist who reports for PBS Frontline and contributes to The Economist. He worked for The Washington Post as a bureau chief and correspondent in Africa, Eastern Europe, and Asia, as well as in New York and Seattle. He was also a national correspondent for The New York Times and writer for the Times Magazine.

His most recent book is Escape From Camp 14, which the Christian Science Monitor calls a “book without parallel” and which The Seattle Times compares to The Diary of Anne Frank as a work that should be read in every high school civics class. Escape From Camp 14 is the harrowing story of Shin Dong-hyuk, the only person to have been born and raised in a North Korean prison camp and to have escaped to the West. Shin fled a hell on earth where 200,000 remain under conditions rivaled only by the Holocaust and the Gulag.

Blaine is also the author of A River Lost, a book about well-intentioned Americans (including Blaine's father) who dammed and degraded the West’s greatest river, the Columbia. An updated and revised edition of A River Lost will be published by Norton in April, 2012, to coincide with a PBS American Experience program about Grand Coulee Dam and the Columbia River.

Blaine’s first book, Africa: Dispatches from a Fragile Continent, was described by The Independent as the “best contemporary book on Africa.”

Blaine's journalism awards include the Ernie Pyle Award for coverage of the siege of Sarajevo during the Bosnian War, the American Society of Newspaper Editors Award for Nondeadline Writing, and the Livingston Award for International Reporting (both for his stories about Africa).

Blaine lives in Seattle with his wife Jessica and their two children, Lucinda and Arno.

Speaking Topics

  • Escape from Camp 14: One Man's Remarkable Odyssey from North Korea to Freedom in the West
  • River Lost: The Life and Death of the Columbia
  • Africa: Dispatches from a Fragile Continent


Blaine Harden Speaks at TEDx Rainier

More About This Speaker

Featured Book

Escape from Camp 14

"This is a story unlike any other...More so than any other book on North Korea, including my own, Escape from Camp 14 exposes the cruelty that is the underpinning of Kim Jong Il's regime. Blaine Harden, a veteran foreign correspondent from The Washington Post, tells this story masterfully...The integrity of this book shines through on every page."

– Barbara Demick, Author of Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea

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