About Howard W. French

Howard W. French is a senior writer for the New York Times. After teaching at the University of Ivory Coast in the early 1980s, he began his journalism career writing about Africa for the Washington Post, Africa News, The Economist and numerous other publications. Since 1986, he has reported for the Times from Central America, the Caribbean, West and Central Africa, Japan, Korea and now China. In 1997, his coverage of the fall of Mobuto Sese Seko won the Overseas Press Club of America�s award for best newspaper interpretation of foreign affairs. French was born in Washington, D.C., and now lives in Shanghai.
Contact Information

11 thoughts on “About Howard W. French”

  1. Howard…I miss the global flash animation…but this looks really good.
    I’m tryingto work on a July or August shanghai. How about Mongolia in March? Can you make it?

  2. Hi Howard, (from a friend named Dan)
    The web site looks great (intriguing New Orleans
    pictures). Good to see Fela Kuti’s place of
    prominence on the play list.
    Reading suggestions: “Aloft” by Chang Rae Lee — Lee’s bold step into Updike/Roth territory, with writing so beautiful that you don’t quite believe that the narrator is capable of such poetry. Another good one: “Caucasia” by Danzy Senna — a first novel published in 1998, I think, ambitious, semi-autobiographical, often fascinating and sharp. And our friend Daniel Botsman (young Harvard Japanese history prof) has just
    published a book called “Punishment and Power in the Making of Modern Japan,” focusing on the Meiji period, I believe. It might be up your alley. He’s in Osaka this year with his wife, Crystal Feimster, a B.C. history prof who is publishing a book on women andlynching in the American South. They’re wonderful, interesting people.
    I hope everything is well with you and family. We’re coping here in our liberal nest. Election results notwithstanding, I had a wonderful and inspiring November 2 working as a voting rights lawyer in rural Florida (on the shores of Lake Okeechobee, Zora Neale Hurston country) — and if I only read the arts section of the Times for the next few years, I can remain happy. My first cousin is a Marine in Iraq, which has the whole family on edge. My great-grandfathers all fled to America after deserting from the imperial armies of Europe, and between color blindness, migraines and bad knees, we escaped WWII and Vietnam service, too. So this is a new experience for us.
    Happy holidays!
    Take care,

  3. Thanks for ther website, Howard, a veritable treasure trove! Little did I suspect that you taught at the University of Abidjan in the late 1980s. Should I give you credit for all the wonderful things that have come out of the FESCI?
    Your pieces on China and Tibet make for captivating reading. Dont’ stop!

  4. Howard,
    I’m going to work in China as a teacher of English as a foreign language in 18 months, and I need more of a literary foundation than I have right now. Would you recommend some books and/or articles about post 1978 China?
    I do have a small start, though. I picked up “China Inc,” and I’m about a third of the way through. In addition to Fishman’s text and some travel guides, I’m borrowing Barry Naughton’s “Growing out of the plan” from a friend of mine who’s a student of economics. I’d like to read seven or eight more books, or the equivalent in chapters and articles by the end of the summer when my Mandarin course work formally begins.
    In China Inc, Fishman comments about “young Chinese novelist Mian Mian,” and “Li Yong Yan, a Beijing-based writer on Chinese Business.” (100, 107) Have you read any of their works? If so, what do you think? Of course, I’ll read the reviews, but I just put the book down a moment ago, only 5 pages past the aforementioned quotes.
    Any Times articles you can reference would be greedily consumed, and much appreciated, too.
    All the best,
    Nick S. 🙂
    P.S., Do you know Tumani Djiabate? I read that you spent some time in West Africa; my brother lived with Tumani for about a year and a half at his home in Bamako, Mali.

  5. K?¥h?Æ jik?¥ – Café Lumière
    This delightful and profund film mirrors, touches and crosses the life of a young, determinate woman. Musical as a song, it vibrates through the images of a busy, metropolitan Japan. Intense as life of every day, it glimpses at Yoko’s passionate work of research, her parents’ affection, the warmth of an unconventional friendship with Hajime, the colorful miniature-flat she lives in. Cafes, places, trains, more than words, reveal Yoko’s calm reaction to an unespected pregnancy.
    Teresa Leone

  6. The Walker Art Center’s webcast video of your talk on China at ( 11/03/2005) brought me to this wonderful website. I just want to simply comment on the part at the end of the video regarding aesthetics and spiritual belief. I do not totally agree with what was said on the video.
    There are always multiple levels and different types of people in a society with varied levels of ‘aesthetic’ sophistication and spiritual demand, esp. for a huge country ( a non-immigration country) with many regions, sub-cultures, vast populations that has gone through many changes in the history. I do not feel the one general comment of ‘there is no daily aesthetics, etc..’ accurately described the fact of all or the majority.
    People’s spiritual belief does not necessarily exist in the form of a specific religion, and it does not have to come from the operation by the government, esp. for a culture with a lot longer history beyond the life of the current government. All the moral values, demand for spiritual fulfillment or intellectual sophistication, with the root back to the era of Lao Zi or Confucius, are existing, but of course having varied levels among people. However, this is no difference from how it is anywhere else.
    — from Cambridge, MA

  7. Howard,
    All I knew about Africa I learned in Miss Raasch’s 3rd Grade Geography class in 1967. The continent disappears from public school cirricula after that. For reasons till unknown to me I picked up a copy of your book on Saturday and am finishing it now. If you would have asked me last Friday to locate Sierra Leone on a globe I would have spun it over to South America. I had no interest in Africa and, not having a subscription to the Times, probably never read your work.
    Your book has really opened my eyes and I look forward to learning more.

  8. Howard,
    I’ve been an admirer of your journalism for some time now, but it was only after hearing your interview with China Digital Times that I found out you are also an amateur photographer. It is always nice to find someone who shares my interest in photographing “disappearing Shanghai” (or Beijing, or any other part of China for that matter). In 2000, I spent several months going around the city photographing street scenes, construction sites, and old neighborhoods designated for destruction (as my old friend Ed Lanfranco likes to say, “who put the chai in China?”) I haven’t had the chance to scan these old b+w negatives yet (I have hundreds of rolls) but I’ve posted a few on my website:
    A Leica and a Rolleiflex? I’m envious. Couldn’t afford either at this point. Looking forward to your exhibition and book. Keep up the good work!
    Andrew Field

  9. Intrigued by the challenges faced by two friends recented posted at the new AFRICOM HQ, I have been reading about the continent with considerable and renewed interest. A grad student on my staff with a strong interest in Africa recommended your book to me. Your descriptions of the people. the environment and the challenges were exceptionally interesting. Once again, I found that reading books written by journalists provide me with the clearest insights into regions of the world. “Applause” for your excellent book.
    Having just finished your book, I went to Wiki to learn more about what you have done or are planning to accomplish. Your project on Shanghai sounds very interesting. I spent a week there last Fall; my first visit to China. I observed and was saddened even then by the loss of historical context and living art that will result from the “disappearing” city. I am delighted that you are trying to capture the essence before it is too late to do so.
    Best wishes for your own future and your endeavors.

  10. I am new to this site, but the artcles, commentary, photographs,and reading list appear very intriguing to mr.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *