Julia Duin (pronounced “Deen”) is an accomplished writer and journalist who has worked for 5 newspapers, written five books, along with more magazine articles than she can count. She has chalked up 25 years full-time experience in journalism, has taught journalism at three colleges and is getting her second master’s degree (in journalism) at the University of Memphis. God willing, she’ll graduate at the end of 2014. During 2013, she freelanced several times for the Wall Street Journal, CNN.com, More magazine and other outlets.
More than 14 of her years in the field were spent at The Washington Times, beginning in 1995. She began as culture page editor, then religion editor, winning many awards and being sent everywhere from India and Israel to Italy and Iceland (yes, four countries that begin with “I”) to do her job. She left the Times in mid-2010 and spent the next two years freelancing for everything ranging from the Economist to the Wall Street Journal. The bulk of her work was for The Washington Post Sunday magazine and Style section, for which she did 13 (mostly articles 2,000-3,000 words long) pieces through 2012. The Post named her a contributing writer and Julia repaid them by pulling in three awards in October 2012 for her magazine writing. What brought an end to Julia’s writing for WaPo was her move 800 miles to the west to Jackson, Tenn., where she taught journalism for a year at Union University.
Julia’s favorite topic is religion and she earned a master’s degree in the topic in 1992. In addition to working more than three years with the Houston Chronicle in the late 1980s, she put in a year-long stint as a city editor for The Daily Times in Farmington, N.M. in the mid-1990s. She fell in love with New Mexico then and has always longed to return.
As religion editor for The Washington Times, she covered events ranging from inner city ministries in Brooklyn, N.Y. and a church/state conflict in northeastern Alabama to a famous child abuse case in eastern Washington state and the 2005 election of Pope Benedict XVI. For seven years, she oversaw interns on the Times’ national desk and edited the Times’ widely read second page, Culture & Etc., which has become known for its timely articles on national trends ranging from the media, the arts, abortion, teen pregnancy, spirituality, ethics, religion, TV sex and violence, gay rights issues and many other culture wars topics. When she switched to the religion beat in 2003, she put together award-winning series on ‘female feticide’ in India, the ‘new sanctuary movement’ among immigrants in America and the future of American clergy.
She is fluent in French, conversant in Spanish and German and speaks portions of Kurdish, Arabic, Russian and Italian. The Kurdish was for her 2004 trip to northern Iraq (where she was snuck in by a friendly NGO over the Turkish border); the Italian was to help her better cover the papal election in 2005 and the Russian was to help her get through almost seven weeks in Kazakhstan in 2007 as she awaited the adoption of her then 22-month-old daughter, Olivia Veronika, aka “Veeka.”
A native of Baltimore, Julia has been to nearly every state in the union, as her travels started at the age of six weeks when her family moved to Hawaii. She received her bachelor’s degree at Lewis & Clark College in Portland, Ore., and her master’s degree at Trinity Episcopal School for Ministry, a seminary near Pittsburgh. She began magazine writing in high school, and gained national recognition as a correspondent for evangelical publications such as “Christianity Today” and “Charisma.”
She is not afraid to tackle tough topics and her first two books, which were on single Christians and sexuality, landed her on numerous radio and TV shows. She demonstrated her versatility in writing styles by producing a children’s book as her third work: “Waiting for True Love,” a collection of 19th century fairytales that have a message. It was published in May 1998 and reflects her concern that children receive the kind of literature that inspires them to live noble lives. The book has since been renamed “Knights, Maidens and Dragons: Six medieval tales of virtue and valor,” was republished in 2011 and can be purchased on Amazon.com or through Chalfont House. Her fourth book,”Quitting Church: Why the Faithful are Fleeing and What to Do About It,” came out in 2008, and has been her best-selling book. Book no. 5, “Days of Fire and Glory: The Rise and Fall of a Charismatic Community,” is her favorite book and one that took 15 years to get into print. Although the writing and research were complete by 1994, the book was not published until 2009. Fortunately, a new generation of Christians intrigued by the community lifestyle – as well as folks involved in the charismatic renewal – are still discovering the book. She is currently working on a book about 20-something Appalachian serpent handlers. She fell into this topic while doing a lengthy piece for the Washington Post, and has continued following this group of unusual believers.
BV (Before Veeka), Julia liked to ski, hike, bike and play the Celtic harp. She pursued her harp studies at a worldwide gathering for folk harpists in 2001 in Edinburgh and has attended many other harp conferences. She even won a few blue ribbons in harp competitions. She put aside the harp, but took it up again in the fall of 2013. She also has one very elderly cat, Serenity, who spends her days and most of her nights sleeping. Julia also taught journalism as an adjunct at Patrick Henry College in Purcellville, Va., (fall 2001) and at the University of Maryland (spring 2012) and was nominated three times by the Times for a Pulitzer Prize.