David Chrisinger, Executive and Writing Director, Writing Workshop

David Chrisinger, the head of the Harris Writing Workshop, was named the recipient of the 2022 George Orwell Award for Distinguished Contribution to Honesty and Clarity in Public Language for his book, Public Policy Writing That Matters. The award is given each year by the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE). Past winners include author Michael Pollan, comedian Jon Stewart, independent journalist Amy Goodman, investigative reporter Seymour Hersh, educator and cultural critic Neil Postman, linguist and philosopher Noam Chomsky, and The Onion

Chrisinger was recognized at a NCTE virtual awards ceremony on October 6. The NCTE said this in praise:

“David Chrisinger’s book Public Policy Writing That Matters highlights the importance of public policy that is thoughtfully, concisely, and clearly written. Centering his writing advice on public policy that is both human-centered and audience-focused, Chrisinger emphasizes the art of storytelling in public policy—noting that policy affects communities and individuals, not abstract constructions of government.”

According to Chrisinger, the book is aimed at helping students and professionals overcome their default impulses to merely “explain,” and offers proven tips—tested in the real world and in the classroom—for writing sophisticated policy analysis that is easy to understand. 

“As someone who studied Animal Farm, Nineteen Eighty-Four, Homage to Catalonia, and other unforgettable Orwell texts in college, I’m so honored to have my work mentioned in the same breath as his,” said Chrisinger. “This award recognizes writing that critically analyzes public discourse and pushes for clearer, more thoughtful communication, two missions I set for myself the moment I started working to build a writing program at Harris.”

In the three years since Chrisinger has been at its helm, the Harris Writing Workshop has grown and flourished, emerging as an increasingly important and popular component of a Harris education.  

In addition to his role at Harris, Chrisinger teaches memoir writing for The War Horse, a nonprofit newsroom raising public awareness about military service, war, and its impact. He has contributed to the New York Times At War Column, is a Logan Nonfiction Fellow, and is the author of Stories Are What Save Us: A Survivor’s Guide to Writing About Trauma (2021, Johns Hopkins University Press). He has two additional forthcoming books, The Soldier’s Truth: Ernie Pyle and the Story of World War II (set for release on May 30, 2023, Penguin Press), which chronicles the life of renowned war correspondent Ernie Pyle, and Because Data Can’t Speak for Itself: A Practical Guide to Telling Persuasive Policy Stories (forthcoming in 2023, JHU Press), which he co-wrote with Lauren Brodsky of the Harvard University Kennedy School of Government.