Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book

Individual Author Record

General Information


Pen Name: None

Genre: C:ADULT Non-Fiction

Born: , in New York



Illinois Connection

Michaeli is based out of Chicago.

Biographical and Professional Information

Ethan Michaeli is the author of “The Defender: How the Legendary Black Newspaper Changed America,” (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2016) praised by Brent Staples of The New York Times as “An extraordinary history…Deeply researched, elegantly written…a towering achievement that will not be soon forgotten.” Winner of the Best Non Fiction of 2016 prizes from the Midland Authors Association as well as the Chicago Writers Association, named as a Notable Book of 2016 by The New York Times as well as the Washington Post and Amazon, and to the short list of the Mark Lynton Prize presented by the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism and the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard University.

A publisher and journalist based in Chicago, Ethan was a copy editor and investigative reporter at The Chicago Daily Defender from 1991 to 1996. He left The Defender to found the Residents’ Journal, a magazine written and produced by the tenants of Chicago’s public housing developments, and an affiliated not-for-profit organization, We The People Media. Residents’ Journal/We The People Media won national awards for its journalism and for its programs training youths and adults in the skills of modern journalism, including the 2006 Studs Terkel Award for its investigative reporting. Ethan served as a member of the part-time journalism faculty at Columbia College Chicago from 1995-2002, and currently teaches a course on "Race, Politics and Media in the 20th Century" at the Harris School of Public Policy of the University of Chicago. He has served as a judge in prestigious literary contests including the 2018 Lynton Prize and the 2017 Chicago Writers Association. In addition to “The Defender,” Ethan’s work has been published by Oxford University Press, Atlantic Magazine, the Nation, the Forward, In These Times and the Chicago Tribune, among other venues. His forthcoming book, “Twelve Tribes: Promise and Peril in the New Israel,” will be published by Custom House Books.

Published Works Expand for more information

Titles At Your Library


-- "The Defender"

-- *Best Non Fiction of 2016, Midland Authors Association and Chicago Writers Association,

-- *Notable Book of 2016, New York Times, Washington Post and Amazon

-- *Short List, Mark Lynton Prize, Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism and the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard University