Lauren Sandler is an award-winning journalist based in Brooklyn and author of  This Is All I Got (2020), a book of narrative nonfiction about a young homeless mother in New York. Lauren is the author of two previous books, the bestselling One and Only: The Freedom of Having an Only Child, and the Joy of Being One and Righteous: Dispatches from the Evangelical Youth Movement.  

Lauren's essays and features have appeared in dozens of publications including Time, The New York Times, Slate, The Atlantic, TheNation, The New Republic, The Guardian, New York Magazine, and Elle.  She has been on staff at Salonand at NPR, where she worked on All Things Considered, Morning Edition, Weekend Edition, and the Cultural Desk. 

In addition to her journalism, Lauren leads the OpEd Project’s Public Voices Fellowships at Yale, Columbia, UVA, and Dartmouth, and has taught in the graduate journalism program at NYU, where she has also been Visiting Scholar. She was a regular commentator for the BBC and has been interviewed nationally and internationally on many networks including CNN, PBS, CBS, NBC, and throughout public radio.

Lauren is a member of NationSwell Council. She has been a Poynter Fellow at Yale, a Calderwood Journalism Fellow at the MacDowell Colony, and a resident at the Maison Dora Maar in Menerbes, France.

Speech topics


Lauren Sandler immersed herself in the life of an extraordinary young homeless mother to deeply understand how our myriad injustices were lived. She tells stories with a novelist’s depth about life inside our broken social services system, and what it’s like to watch a brilliant criminal justice student be suffocated by the safety net intended to help her. Lauren will take you on a journey through the labyrinth her heroine navigated, offering context, history, and solutions at every turn. Her powerful voice will shine a light on our myriad human rights crises, lived right her in America, and help you see opportunities for formidable change, as a nation and as individuals alike. Her wisdom, perspective, and capacity to inspire is more crucial and relevant than ever, as we face a future in which millions of people find themselves suddenly facing what she witnessed in her reporting. It doesn’t have to be this way, and she’ll help you see how to get there – how we can build a world we can all be proud to live in.

Coming to Terms with White Complicity, And What Comes Next

What is the difference between “not being racist” and being “anti-racist?” What are people talking about when they say “defund the police?” How do we learn to see white supremacy? These ideas feel like confounding slogans without background, narrative, and personal experience. Lauren Sandler will lead you into the meaning of these concepts, drawing from her own experience — from working with professors in Charlottesville in the aftermath of the white supremacy rallies, to her immersive journalism in the social services system and shelters of New York.  She’ll talk about allyship and empathy on both a personal and systemic level, provoking profound and productive discourse. 


This Is All I Got: A New Mother's Search for Home

A riveting account of a year in the life of a young, homeless single mother, her quest to find stability and shelter in New York City—and the journalist who got too close while telling her story.

“Vivid, heartbreaking. . . . Readers will be moved by this harrowing and impassioned call for change.”

Righteous: Dispatches from the Evangelical Youth Movement

Illuminating, often troubling, and unapologetically frank, Righteous is dynamic young journalist Lauren Sandler's report from the nexus of religious fundamentalism and youth culture.

One and Only: The Freedom of Having an Only Child, and the Joy of Being One

In this heartfelt work, Sandler legitimizes a discussion about the larger societal costs of having more than one...

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