Seamus Murphy In Conversation with Eliza Griswold

Pulitzer Prize-winning writer and poet Eliza Griswold and award-winning photographer Seamus Murphy discuss their many travels and collaborative projects across different mediums. 

Their friendship began in Northern Iraq a few days before the war started in 2003. After that first encounter, they worked together in Africa covering stories about religion and conflict with the underlying theme of the dangers of Christians and Muslims competing in various regions for resources.

A trip through Pennsylvania to examine failing infrastructure and post-industrial life led to a story on fracking in The New York Times Magazine. On this trip, Eliza met Stacey Haney and her family who were caught up in a dispute with the fracking industry, and who became the focus of her Pulitzer Prize-winning book, Amity and Prosperity,

In addition to prose, Eliza was also writing poetry, personal work that reflected some of their projects and experiences (two volumes were published: Wide Awake Field, and If Men, Then). In this event, poetry brought Seamus and Eliza together again as they traveled through Afghanistan on multiple journeys to find, document, and translate in words and pictures landays–spoken word Pashtu poems created by anonymous Afghan women which clandestinely traveled around the culture. The search produced a story in The New York Times Magazine about women’s poetry in Afghanistan. Their work on landays became an entire edition of Poetry Magazine, as well as a book – I am the Beggar of the World, and the short film, “Snake.” 

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