I'm a Brooklyn-based writer, the author of Finks: How the CIA Tricked the World's Best Writers and a founder of Guernica: A Magazine of Global Arts & Politics. My writing appears in The New York Times, The Daily Beast, The Baffler, The Wall Street Journal, Boston Review, Salon, The Sun Magazine, The San Francisco Chronicle, NPR, World Policy Journal, The New Republic, Dissent, New York Magazine, The Wire (India) and The Village Voice.
I am a former editor of Al Jazeera America and a founder and former editor-in-chief of Guernica, for which I won a 2017 PEN/Nora Magid Award for Excellence in Editing. My essays in The Baffler, Dissent and Salon were Notables, respectively, in Best American Essays 2017, Best American Essays 2015 and Best American Essays 2013. With photographer Brett Van Ort, I co-authored the 2013 TED Talks ebook on landmine eradication, Minescape. My work has been translated into French, Russian, Romanian, German, Indonesian, and is being translated into Farsi and Chinese.
I curate and manage a literary series at Brooklyn Public Library's BPL Presents on its main stage, and help run cultural and civic programming throughout the library's 60 branches. A graduate of Columbia University's School of the Arts/Writing Program, my poetry has appeared in The Paris Review, The Nation, and Agni. In 2003, I was awarded a “Discovery”/The Nation Prize by the 92nd Street Y and The Nation. I have taught English and writing at such universities as Fordham, Cooper Union, John Jay College, and most recently at St. Joseph's College's Writer's Foundry MFA program in Brooklyn.
I'm working on a novel.
"Joel Whitney & Michael Archer of Guernica awarded PEN's Nora Magid Award for Editing," February 22, 2017
Angela Chen, "Salman Rushdie on his latest 'wonder tale': 'We now live in a very strange time'," The Guardian, October 19, 2015
Patrick Iber, "Literary Magazines for Socialists, Funded by the CIA," The Awl, August 24, 2015
Christopher Lehmann-Haupt, "Peter Matthiessen, Lyrical Writer and Naturalist, is Dead at 86," New York Times, April 5, 2014
Tess Elliott, "Cruel Landscapes: An interview with Joel Whitney," Point Reyes Light, March 21, 2013
Jennifer Schuessler, "Salon Article Rekindles Debate about Paris Review and CIA," New York Times, May 29, 2012
"Guernica: Lit Mag Beats the Odds," about my work on Guernica in Publishers Weekly, October 19, 2007