Jacki Lyden Headshot
Report a problem with this profile
[email protected]

Jacki Lyden      

NPR Host

Jacki Lyden is a longtime alternate host and senior correspondent for National Public Radio. Most recently, she has served as guest host of NPR's award-winning "All Things Considered". She has substitute hosted the weekend version of the program regularly since 1986. Lyden joined NPR in 1980.

In addition to her hosting work at NPR, she has gone around the world on assignment and served as an NPR foreign correspondent stationed in the Middle East and London. Over her career, she has reported for NPR from Afghanistan, Iran, Jordan, Iraq, Egypt, Lebanon, Syria, and many ports of call in the U.S. and Europe. She has covered major world events ranging from the Gulf War to the attacks of September 11th. When the latter occurred, Lyden was at home in Brooklyn, and soon after was NPR's first New York reporter on the air that morning. She remained overnight at Ground Zero for the next week. NPR's coverage of 9/11 earned the organization the prestigious George Foster Peabody Award as well as honors from the Overseas Press Club.

By December 2001, Lyden had arrived in Afghanistan, establishing a base for NPR and reporting on the departure of the Taliban. Culture is a particular passion for Lyden; she was the first reporter in Afghanistan to cover the efforts to revive the Kabul Theater, she reported on the sale of Christmas trees there on Christmas Day, and musicians who had been repressed and jailed. She also interviewed President Hamid Karzai, whose inauguration she covered, along with women who had suffered harrowing humiliation and confinement and were now trying to learn again.

In 2002, Lyden received the Gracie Award for American Women in Radio and Television for best foreign documentary, together with producer Davar Ardalan, for their story Loss and Its Aftermath, a documentary about death and bereavement amongst Palestinian and Israeli families. Lyden reported the story from Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza.

Lyden's past interviewees include significant world leaders as well as interesting individuals from all walks of life. She has interviewed Jordan's King Hussein, Iraq's Prime Minister Tariq Aziz, and Yasser Arafat. But she has also profiled swing dancers, sugar abusers, and people who live in trees. She has interviewed many writers and performers, most recently Paddy Maloney of the Chieftains, Duncan Sheik, director Mike Figgis, Neil Jordan, artist Judy Chicago, writer Francine Prose, singer George Jones, Pulitzer Prize winner Alice McDermott, Tim O'Brien, and Paul Theroux.

Always adventurous, Lyden spent a part of the summer of 2002 as "Queen Maeve" in a historical re-enactment of Ireland's mythological queen and her march against her nemesis, Cuchulainn, and recounted the experience in a host piece on "All Things Considered".

In 1999, Lyden hosted the weekend edition of "All Things Considered" National Story Project with writer Paul Auster. The project, which drew over 4,000 listener letters, also became the best-selling book I Thought My Father Was God.

Lyden's best-selling memoir Daughter of the Queen of Sheba, about a bipolar mother's incantatory love and power, was published to critical acclaim in 1997. It was published in six foreign editions, and came out in paper the next year. The book has been optioned for a film by Winchester Films in the UK. Meryl Streep and Gwyneth Paltrow have been attached to play Lyden and her mother. She has also authored the photo book, Landmarks and Legends of Uptown, a photo history of that Chicago neighborhood.

Lyden is a magna cum laude graduate of Valparaiso University and its Christ College for scholars program. She majored in comparative literature and the humanities. She spent a part of her undergraduate years studying at its program in Cambridge, England. She was also a Benton fellow at the University of Chicago from 1991-92. She is a popular featured speaker. She has written articles for Atlantic Monthly, The Washington Post magazine, The New York Times, and others.

Her honors include the National Mental Health Award Grand Prize for investigative reporting in 1990. Lyden's investigation resulted in an ACLU lawsuit that led to separation of the state's prison and mental health systems. She also did a special investigation of the Marion Penitentiary in 1986, at that time the federal penitentiary system's most maximum-security facility. She was also part of NPR's Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Awards for Gulf War Coverage in 1991, and she won the Best Consumer Journalism Award from the National Press Club in 1986.


Speech Topics

Daughter of the Queen of Sheba

The Middle East


Mental Health Advocacy

An Afternoon/Evening With Jacki Lyden


Daughter of the Queen of Sheba: A Memoir by Jacki Lyden ...

Daughter of the Queen of Sheba has 463 ratings and 67 reviews. Lennie said: In this memoir, Jacki Lyden describes growing up in Wisconsin with a mother w...

Related Speakers View all

More like Jacki