Helen Benedict

Helen Benedict, novelist and professor of journalism at Columbia University, has written frequently on women, race, and justice. Her novels include The Sailor’s Wife and Bad Angel. Her work on soldiers won the James Aronson Award for Social Justice Journalism. The Lonely Soldier won the 2010 Ken Book Award.

From Girl to Soldier: Life Before the Military


When Mickiela was 15, her mother was evicted for not paying rent, and the family was out on the street. [Mickiela and her sister] returned to Nana [their grandmother] once again, but this time they only found more trouble. Nana had developed gallbladder cancer, which had metastasized. Soon she began losing weight and her red hair. Gradually, she also started losing her mind.