My first book was a humble print run of one using construction paper and pencil. Mr. Stubbs Strikes Again told the story of a misguided bear who inadvertently solved crimes and then ate the bronze medals he was given, having mistaken each of them for chocolate. Mr. Stubbs may not have been very bright, but he knew what he loved, and he had a strong sense of justice.

As it turns out, Mr. Stubbs would thematically foreshadow nearly everything I’d ever write. Most of my work explores struggle and survival and social justice. I’ve traveled all over the world, from Che’s widow’s house in Havana to the Dalai Lama’s monastery in India, from the shattered coastline of post-tsunami Indonesia to the dark mud rooms of a Middle Eastern women’s prison. Oh. And also one inexplicable day when I bounced from Brian Wilson’s house to Paul Stanley’s (“I’ve made us a sun-dried tomato frittata,” said the lead guitarist of Kiss, as he invited me into his Italian fresco-inspired villa. Astute readers will recognize this as one of my few thematic diversions). Though I was born in Pittsburgh and grew up in Chicago, I have lived in a lot of places: Boston, London, Phnom Penh, and now Washington, DC.

I’ve had the privilege of writing for great publications: the New Yorker, the New York Times magazine, the New Republic, Glamour, Redbook, Slate, Salon, the Washington Post, the Chicago Tribune, etc. And I’ve contributed to a lot of radio shows, too: This American Life, Marketplace, All Things Considered. For a while, I hosted a fun little national, public radio segment called the Global Guru. My first book, Fugitive Denim: A Moving Story of People and Pants in the Borderless World of Global Trade (WW Norton, 2008) was excerpted on This American Life and won an Overseas Press Award. My second book is a novel called What We’ve Lost is Nothing (Scribner, 2014).

I’ve learned that in my own writing there are two kinds of stories I love: those of salvation and those of searching. Put another way, you might say I learned most of what I’d ever need to know about writing – and about a boundless passion for chocolate – from Mr. Stubbs.
Rachel Louis Snyder


©Rachel Louise Snyder, 2018