Jeff Sharlet is an award-winning literary journalist and author of seven books including New York Times bestseller, THE FAMILY: The Secret Fundamentalism at the Heart of American Power and C STREET: The Fundamentalist Threat to American Democracy. He is also the executive producer of the top-rated Netflix documentary series based on the books.
Jeff is Director of Creative Writing at Dartmouth College and a contributing editor for Harper’s, Virginia Quarterly Review, and Rolling Stone. His work has also appeared in The New York Times Magazine, GQ, Esquire, Bookforum, The Washington Post, Mother Jones, The Nation and more. He is the publisher of 40 Towns, a periodical of literary journalism, and the co-creator of two online journals, Killing the Buddha, an online magazine of religion, culture, and politics, and The Revealer, a review of religion and media published by the New York University Center for Religion and Media.
His work has earned numerous awards, including the National Magazine Award, the Outspoken Award, the MOLLY National Journalism Prize, and the Military Religious Freedom Foundation’s Thomas Jefferson Award.
Jeff’s new book is THIS BRILLIANT DARKNESS: A Book of Strangers. In this masterful collection of images and reflections, Sharlet invites us to see his subjects – the people, moments and things we actively ignore or take no notice of. “The book ingeniously reminds us that all of our lives — our struggles, desires, grief — happen concurrently with everyone else’s, and this awareness helps dissolve the boundaries between us” (New York Times).
This is a book of other people’s lives, lives that became, for a moment— the duration of a snapshot— my life, too. – Jeff Sharlet
“Bless Jeff Sharlet for not walking away, but sharing his humanity by bridging the deadly gap of isolation with love.” – Terry Tempest Williams, author of Erosion: Essays of Undoing
This Brilliant Darkness is “a luminous, moving and visual record of fleeting moments of connection.” – New York Times Book Review
“We often say that a book has changed our lives. But it’s rare to say that a book made us more human . . . ‘This Brilliant Darkness’ feels as transformative and essential as anything I have read in years. Sharlet’s work is an incantation, a prayer for and summoning of the human powers of observation, empathy, and compassion.” – Michael Washburn, Los Angeles Review of Books
This Brilliant Darkness is “a triumph of visual and written storytelling, both evocative and moving.” – Publishers Weekly Starred Review
“One of the most beautiful works I’ve ever read. ‘This Brilliant Darkness’ is dazzling and addictive, a constellation of stories about how we love before we die. This book breathes.” – Blair Braverman, author of Welcome to the Goddamn Ice Cube
This Brilliant Darkness is “a phenomenally original book that will press into your chest about as deeply as literature can go. Sharlet is his generation’s Steinbeck.” – Timothy Tyson, author of The Blood of Emmett Till
“Part reporter, part prophet, Jeff Sharlet is an American visionary in the lineage that runs from Twain to Robinson Jeffers to Sam Shepard and Joan Didion.” – Peter Trachtenberg, author of 7 Tattoos and The Book of Calamities
Books, Films & Projects
Jeff Sharlet discusses politics and 'This Brilliant Darkness' on the Nicole Sandler Show.
Jeff Sharlet talks about his book, 'This Brilliant Darkness,' at WBUR CitySpace.
Watch Jeff Sharlet in THE FAMILY, the NETFLIX docuseries based on his bestselling book.
Human Connections Light Up 'This Brilliant Darkness:' Jeff Sharlet talks about his book on All Things Considered.
Strangers’ Things: A Journalist Finds Grace in Other People’s Stories. Read Jennifer Percy’s New York Times review of Jeff Sharlet’s “gorgeous new book,” This Brilliant Darkness.
Seeing Together: Care, Community, and Connection in Jeff Sharlet’s ‘This Brilliant Darkness: A Book of Strangers.‘ Read Michael Washburn’s poignant review for the Los Angeles Review of Books.