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Fen Montaigne

About Fen Montaigne


Born in Charlotte, North Carolina, Fen grew up in Wilmington, Delaware and graduated from the University of Virginia with a degree in international relations. After university he spent a-year-and-a-half traveling around the world, working in Iran and Japan. He began his newspaper career at The Houma Courier, a small paper in the Louisiana bayou, then went on to write for The News & Courier in Charleston, S.C. and The States Item and Times-Picayune in New Orleans. He joined The Philadelphia Inquirer in 1982 and spent 15 years at the newspaper, initially covering the Atlantic City casino industry and organized crime. From 1990 to 1993, Fen was Moscow correspondent for the Inquirer and Knight-Ridder newspapers, covering Michael Gorbachev, the collapse of the Soviet Union, and the rise of the new Russia. He received a citation for excellence from the Overseas Press Club for his reporting from the former U.S.S.R.


In 1994 and 1995, Fen wrote an outdoor column for the Inquirer. He was a finalist for the 1995 Pulitzer Prize in feature writing for a collection of his columns.


Fen became a freelance journalist in 1996, working mainly for National Geographic magazine and also publishing articles in The New Yorker, The Wall Street Journal, Outside, Smithsonian, Forbes, and Audubon. His critically acclaimed 1998 travel book, Reeling in Russia, chronicles his 100-day journey across Russia, fly-rod in hand. In 2005 and 2006, Fen spent five months in Antarctica on the field team of ecologist Bill Fraser, who has worked for four decades in Antarctica studying the impact of the rapid warming of the Antarctica Peninsula on Adélie penguins and other seabirds. That story is told in Fraser’s Penguins: A Journey to the Future in Antarctica, published in 2010, for which Fen received a Guggenheim Fellowship and a fellowship from the National Science Foundation’s Antarctic Artists & Writers Program.


In 2008, Fen helped launch the online magazine, Yale Environment 360, and has since worked there as senior editor. The magazine has won numerous awards, including a National Magazine Award; attracts more than 3 million readers a year; and has 67,000 Twitter followers. Fen conceives of, assigns, and edits stories at Yale e360.


He also is the lead lecturer on a DVD series on the polar regions for The Great Courses. That lecture series, released in 2015, is a collaborative project with National Geographic. Fen also lectures for Lindblad Expeditions aboard the National Geographic Explorer in Antarctica and the Arctic.


Fen is married to a fellow journalist, Laurie Hays. They live in New York City and have two daughters, Claire and Nuni.

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