Cover story in the Walrus

My cover story in this month's issue of the Walrus magazine, Canada's leading literary nonfiction monthly, is entitled "Last Stand in Kandahar: Can the military's massive counterinsurgency gamble salvage the Afghan war?"

I traveled on my own and with the military this summer during the height of the offensive in southern Afghanistan in order to understand just how the influx of troops and money is destabilizing the province and reinforcing the root political causes of the conflict -- effects that will probably outlast the temporary security gains of the surge. The piece is already garnering intense interest in Canada and I'll be doing radio interviews on the subject all this week.

Click here to read the story.

Update: Recent work

An update is in order, as I've been remiss over the summer. I spent a very busy four months in Afghanistan, including a scorching month in Kandahar during the summer offensive, both embedded and independently. My observations on ISAF's military progress in Kandahar will be published as the cover story in the December issue of the Walrus Magazine, Canada's leading literary nonfiction magazine.

I did have time for some lighter pursuits, including this article for Popular Science Magazine, in which I explored illegal emerald mines in the mountains north of Kabul:

The Treasure of the Safit Chir

I've also written a long piece of political analysis in the Indian literary journal the Caravan, which investigates India's involvement in Afghanistan. I spent several months speaking to spooks, diplomats, and locals in an attempt to fathom the clandestine battle taking place between the region's intelligence agencies, and its impact on Afghan politics.

India in Afghanistan: Nation building or proxy war?

I've also recently written two articles for the excellent AfPak Channel, a joint collaboration between Foreign Policy Magazine and the New America Foundation:

The big business of kidnapping in Afghanistan. (A longer version of a story originally written for the French magazine Courrier International.)

Losing legitimacy in Kandahar: Preliminary winners in the parliamentary elections. (With Grant Hewad, originally written for the Afghan Analysts' Network.)

More will be forthcoming.


Coast article wins prizes

My article 'Unembedded in Afghanistan' for the Coast Magazine has won this year's Canadian Association of Journalist's prize for feature writing. The article is a long-form version of my first trip through Afghanistan, where I spent a month traveling alone through the country disguised as an Afghan. The Coast has a write-up on the award. The story also won a silver prize for Enterprise Reporting in this year's Atlantic Journalism Awards. This is my second year in a row winning CAJ and AJA awards. 

New homework assignment for spooks: my article

From the Washington Post, February 20, 2010:

"On their first day of class in Afghanistan, the new U.S. intelligence analysts were given a homework assignment.

First read a six-page classified military intelligence report about the situation in Spin Boldak, a key border town and smuggling route in southern Afghanistan. Then read a 7,500-word article in Harper's magazine, also about Spin Boldak and the exploits of its powerful Afghan border police commander.

The conclusion they were expected to draw: The important information would be found in the magazine story. The scores of spies and analysts producing reams of secret documents were not cutting it."

My investigation of Border Police drug-trafficking ring in Kandahar Province, published last December in Harper's Magazine seems have reached high places. The article, incidentally, has kindly been made available online, for free, by Harper's.

Back postings

These are the postings on my previous website, from May 2007 to October 1, as they originally appeared. Many of these links may no longer be working.

October 1, 2009

The Coast has published a long-form version of my first trip through Afghanistan, where I spent a month traveling alone through the country disguised as an Afghan. Fun stuff.

September 5, 2009

There will be a hiatus in my international reporting, as I arrive in New York City to take on a graduate fellowship at New York University. Still, I'm itching to get back, and hope to organize another extended reporting trip to Afghanistan this coming summer.

May 24, 2009

My article "Adam's Fall" continues to win awards. Last night it took home the 2008 Canadian Association of Journalists Award in the Community Newspaper category, and was a runner-up for Print Feature. Earlier this month, it won the Atlantic Journalism Award for Enterprise Reporting.

May 13, 2009

Last February, my 6,000 word investigative report, "Adam's Fall", published in The Coast, examined Halifax's landmark Macdonald Bridge as a chronic suicide hot-spot. The article lead to a great deal of publicity on the issue, including two days of coverage on CBC Television. While at the time the Bridge Commission denied that barriers to prevent suicide were feasible from an engineering perspective, they've recently revised that opinion, and have now issued tenders for barriers--which may help save lives.

Read more about it here.

February 14, 2009

I have a feature in this Saturday's Globe & Mail on the economic crisis in Iran and its implications for the Iranian presidential election this June.

You can find the article here.

December 21, 2008

The National Post has published a three-part series by me on my month-long journey alone through Afghanistan. I travelled through the mountainous heart of the country, often disguised as an Afghan, in order to photograph and chronicle the lives of ordinary people there.

You can find links to the three articles here.

November 6, 2008

The British indie journal Bad Idea Magazine has a long article and photos by me in its fall edition, profiling the rise and success of Croatian turbo-folk kingpin Alen Borbas.

In what I hope is an entertaining read, I chronicle this colourful figure's flamboyant lifestyle, sharp and shady business dealings, and connections to indicted war criminals, while casting light generally on the rise of a post-war nouveau riche in Croatia.

An online version is not available but you can pick up a copy of Bad Idea in most well-stocked book stores, if you're not already familiar with this very hip source of innovative photo essays and literary journalism.

November 1, 2008

You can find an article and photos recounting my year-long sailing trip around the Atlantic in this month's issue of SAIL Magazine.

An online version should eventually be available

August 17, 2008

The September issue of Progress Magazine features an article by me on the rise of Web 2.0 companies in Atlantic Canada.

You can read it here.

June 5, 2008

I've been named a winner of 2008 Dalton Camp Award.

More about it here.

May 11, 2008

This Sunday's edition of the Nova Scotian, the Halifax Chronicle-Herald's weekly magazine, carries an article by me on Nova Scotia's suicide prevention strategy.

It will be available on the Herald's website for only a brief time; however, you can view a PDF version in the Writing section of this website.

February 7, 2008

I have a major investigative article published in today's issue of The Coast, dealing with the issue of Halifax's Macdonald Bridge being a known suicide hotspot.

The article looks at the issue through the lens of one family's tragic experience of their young son's suicide.

You can view it here.

February 5, 2008

I will be appearing on CBC's 'News at Six' in Nova Scotia tomorrow evening, as part of the network's coverage of my upcoming article on bridge suicides.

Here's a link to their site, which contains (for the time being) a clip of the segment: 'News at Six'.

January 31, 2008

Two recent music articles in the Coast:

Andru Branch - January 24, 2008.

Anew Airship - January 3, 2008.

January 12, 2008

Last weekend I had the privilege of shooting the lovely Mary Grace Koile, an up-and-coming Halifax folk artist. You can find her promotional pictures in the band portraits portfolio now.

Check out her MySpace for some sweet tuneage!

August 19, 2007

Earlier this month, I was up in beautiful Antigonish, Nova Scotia, shooting the annual Evolve Music Festival that takes place there in the summers. I've put together a photo essay documenting the crowd and communal life, which you can check out on the photo essays page.

July 17, 2007

A photoshoot with the very hep cats at Anew Airship has been added to the band portraits portfolio.

The boys have an EP in the works and you can find some of those tracks on their MySpace.

May 26, 2007

A photo essay depicting our epic, 11-month voyage circumnavigating the North Atlantic in a 50-foot sailboat has been added to the photo essays page.