Rachel Louise Snyder

Rachel Louise Snyder is a writer, professor and public radio commentator. Her first book Fugitive Denim: A Moving Story of People and Pants in the Borderless World of Global Trade was published in 2007 by WW Norton. An excerpt of the book –aired on This American Life and won an Overseas Press Club Award. The Library Journal called it one of the “best business books” of the year. Her second book, a novel set in Oak Park, Illinois and entitled What We’ve Lost is Nothing was published in January, 2014 by Scribner. Snyder’s print work has also appeared in the the New Yorker, New York Times magazine, Slate, Salon, the Washington Post, the Huffington Post, the Chicago Tribune, Men’s Journal, Jane, Travel and Leisure, the New Republic, Redbook and Glamour. She hosted the nationally-syndicated global affairs series “Latitudes” on public radio, and her stories have aired on Marketplace and All Things Considered. Snyder has traveled to more than 50 countries and lived in London and Phnom Penh, Cambodia. In the summer of 2009, she relocated to Washington, DC, where she is currently an assistant professor in the MFA creative writing program at American University.

Books and Lesson Plans

  • Fugitive Denim: A Moving Story of People and Pants in the Borderless World of Global Trade

    View Fugitive Denim: A Moving Story of People and Pants in the Borderless World of Global Trade's extended profile

    Rachel Louise Snyder reports from the far reaches of the multi-billion-dollar denim industry in search of the people who make your clothes. From a cotton picker in Azerbaijan to a Cambodian seamstress, a denim maker in Italy to a fashion designer in New York, Snyder captures the human, environmental, and political forces at work in a complex and often absurd world. Neither polemic nor prescription, Fugitive Denim captures what it means to work in the twenty-first century.

    Appropriate for grades 9 and up.

    Course lesson plans for Fugitive Denim are currently in development.

  • What We’ve Lost is Nothing

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    Nestled on the edge of Chicago’s gritty west side, Oak Park is a suburb in flux. To the east, theaters and shops frame posh homes and buildings designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. To the west lies a neighborhood still reeling from urban decline. Although the community’s Diversity Assurance program has curbed Chicago’s destructive racial housing practices over the past few decades, cultural integration has been tenuous at best.

    In the center of the community sits Ilios Lane, a pristine cul-de-sac dotted with quiet homes that bridge Oak Park’s extremes of wealth and poverty. On the first warm day in April, as Mary Elizabeth McPherson, a lifelong resident of Ilios Lane plays hooky from high school, a series of home invasions rock her neighborhood. Thrust into an uneasy alliance with the neighbors around them, the residents of Ilios Lane must take stock of the world they believed they lived in and the world many of them were attempting to create.

    Incisive and panoramic, What We’ve Lost Is Nothing weaves together an impressive cast of characters, whose lives collide in the wake of disaster. In this powerful fiction debut, Rachel Louise Snyder sheds light on the gray area where ideals confront reality.

    Appropriate for grades 9 and up.

    Course lesson plans for What We've Lost is Nothing are currently in development.

Highlighted Resources and Authors