Katherina Thomas is a global health researcher and a long-form journalist. Born in Margate, United Kingdom (1981) to a Scottish mother and an immigrant father, her writing draws on a decade’s experience in global health in sub-Saharan Africa — as an Ebola researcher and patient advocate — and braids creative nonfiction with oral history and immersive journalism. She is a visiting writer-in-residence at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard University, where she explores the intersection of global health and literature, using stories as a tool to advocate for equity and justice.
Katherina writes in the tradition of Anne Fadiman, Svetlana Alexeivich and Oliver Sacks. She has been published and/or recommended by The New Yorker, Guernica, The Economist, Longreads, The Guardian, The New York Times, and many others. Her writing has earned her grants, awards and fellowships from the Carey Institute for Global Good and the International Women’s Media Foundation (IWMF). She was the founding editor of Ebola Deeply, a platform that The Guardian called “an antidote to media scaremongering,” and designed the only Ebola narrative oral history research project to include the voices of community members.
Katherina collaborates with leading African public health practitioners in research and narrative medicine, and serves as an expert witness in US and UK health-related immigration justice cases. She has worked in more than 20 countries in Africa, in outbreaks of Lassa fever, cholera, conflicts in Mali, Libya, and D.R. Congo, and during the 2013-2016 West Africa Ebola outbreak. While living in Liberia between 2007 and 2017, she designed and led Liberia’s inaugural fellowship for health and medical journalists.
She trained at the University of Warwick, at the University of London in Paris, on the foreign desk of The Independent, and at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. She works fluently in both English and French as a writer and translator, and speaks Portuguese, Italian and Arabic.
“Absolutely brilliant — completely takes you to another world.”
Marina Hyde, The Guardian
“Asks questions with the sensitivity of a writer and the accuracy of a scientist.”
Dr. Pardis Sabeti, medical geneticist and Harvard professor
“A fascinating rumination on race, music, culture, and building a relationship with Africa.”
Randy Archibold, The New York Times, on ‘Nina Simone in Liberia’