Jeanne Marie Laskas

  • Distinguished Professor

Jeanne Marie's Affiliations:  Center for CreativityHumanities Council

Jeanne Marie Laskas is the author of eight books, including To Obama: With Love, Joy, Anger, and Hope, and New York Times bestseller Concussion, the basis for the 2015 film. She is a contributing writer at The New York Times Magazine, a correspondent at GQ, and a two-time National Magazine Award finalist. Her stories have also appeared in The New YorkerThe Atlantic, and Esquire. Her other titles include Hidden America: From Coal Miners to Cowboys, an Extraordinary Exploration of the Unseen People Who Make This Country Work (Putnam, 2012) and a trilogy of memoirs: Growing Girls (Bantam Dell, 2006), The Exact Same Moon (Bantam Dell, 2003), and Fifty Acres and a Poodle (Bantam Dell, 2000). Her work has appeared in numerous anthologies, including Best American Magazine Writing 2008 and Best American Sportswriting 2000, 2002, 2008, 2010 and 2012. Her earliest essays and features are compiled in The Balloon Lady and Other People I Know (Duquesne, 1996).

Jeanne Marie serves as serves as Distinguished Professor of English and Founding Director of the Center for Creativity at the University of Pittsburgh. She lives on a horse farm with her husband and two daughters.

2023 Chancellor's Distinguished Research Award Recipient


  • Read "To Obama” in the New York Times Magazine, the article that inspired the book and a National Magazine Award finalist.
  • Listen to Jeanne Marie Laskas on the Longform podcast.
  • Read “Underworld,” which was a finalist for the National Magazine Award.
  • Read an interview from about the writing of “Underworld.”
  • Listen to Jeanne Marie Laskas on NPR’s Talk of the Nation.


“Good writing comes from the truth you have to offer – you. If you’re not offering that, you’re just doing somebody else’s work. It sounds so Pollyanna but I do believe the best thing anybody in the arts has to offer is themselves.”