Deborah Fallows

Deborah Fallows is a linguist and writer, holding a PhD in theoretical linguistics. She is the co-author of the recent book Our Towns, and also authored two other books, Dreaming in Chinese and A Mother’s Work. Her work has been featured in The Atlantic, National Geographic, Slate, The New York Times, and The Washington Monthly, addressing a wide range of topics from language and education to China and travel.

Her latest book, Our Towns: A 100,000-Mile Journey Into the Heart of America (2018), explores the character and resilience of small towns and industries in the country’s heartland. Over the course of five years, she and her husband, James Fallows, traveled across America in a small single-engine plane, visiting towns in the so-called flyover country and documenting their encounters. The book debuted on the New York Times best-seller list, and is the subject of a forthcoming HBO documentary.

Fallows is also the author of the highly acclaimed Dreaming in Chinese: Mandarin Lessons in Life, Love, and Language, written based on the three years she spent living in China and studying Mandarin. The book has received widespread praise from O Magazine to the New York Times Book Review. She is also the author of her 1985 book, A Mother’s Work, which was an early look at the tensions between working professionally and raising children.

Previously, Fallows worked as a senior research fellow at the Pew Research Center, reporting on internet use in the U.S. and China for the Pew Internet Project, and as director of data architecture for Oxygen Media. She was formerly Assistant Dean and Assistant Director of Admissions at Georgetown University.

Fallows grew up in Vermilion, Ohio. She graduated cum laude from Harvard and holds a PhD in theoretical linguistics from the University of Texas. She currently lives in Washington, D.C. Deborah and James Fallows have two married sons and five grandchildren.