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Bio

BREAKING NEWS: 

  • Code Name Madeleine: A Sufi Spy in Nazi-Occupied Paris will be released by WW Norton in U.S., Canada, New Zealand, Australia -- June 9; in UK & Europe -- July 10. 

           Selected as an Anticipated Book of 2020 by CrimeReads. Note: Though Code Name Madeleine is not a traditional crime story, Hitler did commit the worst crimes in history and Noor fought him with honor & skill. 

 

     London Guardian, June 20, 2020: "How British Spy's Love for Blue Betayed Her: A new book reveals 29-year-old was captured by the Gestapo in 1943 after her clothing gave her away." https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/jun/18/executed

 

     Video for Code Name Madeleine:  https://youtu.be/IngcLLQw5e0

     

 

Early reviews: 

           "A singular World War Two tale… Magida fashions a highly original biography of the short, brave life of Noor Inayat Khan, a young woman with a steely will and a strong sense of honor… A harrowing thriller in which a young woman's "joy of sacrifice" turned to tragedy." – Kirkus Reviews

           "What a story this is. Magida tells it very well... His religious understanding is spot on... I hope one day a film will be made of this story." -- America (liberal/Jesuit magazine) 

           "A tightly plotted spy thriller with an irresistable and improbable heroine at its heart."- Kati Marton, author of True Believer

           "One of the finest and most affecting true stories of espionage I have ever read." - Alex Kershaw, author of Avenue of Spies

           "A thrilling spy story and a moving portrait of courage." - Amanda Foreman, author of A World on Fire

           "The most extraordinary undercover agent of WWII... Magida's fascinating biography captures the spirit of this devout Sufi woman." - Giles Milton, author of Soldier, Sailor, Frogman, Spy 

           "Thanks to the dexterous work of Arthur Magida, Noor Inayat Khan finally takes her rightful place in world history... The only Indian woman spy fighting fascism in the golden age of Euro-American spying." -- Ruby Lal, author of Empress: The Astonishing Reign of Nur Jahan

           "Noor's spiritual response to the violence and propaganda of the Nazis remains deeply relevant. - Ram Dass, author of Be Here Now

            "You NEED to know Noor's story & you will not be disappointed." "Fascinating. Couldn't put it down." "Historical non-fiction at its best." "An amazing read. Will become a classic in no time." -- Netgalley

  •  Optioned for a major motion picture: The Nazi Seance: The Strange Story of the Jewish Psychic in Hitler's Circle.  A screenwriter is now polishing the script. 

 

Author, journalist, columnist, tv correspondent, lecturer and professor – it's been a crazy, unexpected ride and, thank God, I'm not done yet. My book that W.W. Norton will release in June, 2020 -- Code Name Madeleine – will be the most resonant and inspiring of my long-term projects: a biography of Noor Inayat Khan – poet, author, Sufi mystic and secret British agent in France during World War Two.

 

Too many of my books involve unsavory or controversial characters – a rabbi who had his wife killed, a Jewish mentalist who got too close to top Nazis, an incendiary National of Islam leader. These were cautionary tales. Noor's is exemplary and uplifting. 

Writing is an exploration of self, of time, of place -- various times and various places, but always one self – I can't get away from me. Overall, it's a plunge into mystery since, indeed, all life is a mystery. Why settle for the easy and the pat when you can wrangle with the difficult and the complex and have fun at the same time?

 

In addition to writing books, I've been a visiting professor of journalism at Georgetown and professor of writing at the University of Baltimore; a consultant to several PBS documentaries and to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum; a columnist for Beliefnet.com; a contributing correspondent to PBS's "Religion & Ethics Newsweekly;" editorial director of Jewish Lights Publishing; senior editor of the Baltimore Jewish Times; environmental reporter for National Journal; writer/editor for Ralph Nader; director of publications for an energy conservation project; and a reporter for two Pennsylvania newspapers.

 

My op-eds have appeared in Newsweek, The Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post, The Houston Chronicle, The Baltimore Sun, and the Philadelphia Inquirer, and I've free-lanced for Conde Nast Traveler, Travel & Leisure, The Washington Post, The Dallas Morning News, The Christian Science Monitor, The Jerusalem Report, Tikkun and The New York Times, Boston Globe, Geo, Islands and Historic Preservation magazines.

 

I'm listed in Who's Who in America, Who's Who in Religion, Who's Who in the East and Writers Who's Who, and have appeared on numerous tv and radio shows, including Dateline, the CBS Early Show, Court TV's "Catherine Crier Live," PBS's "The MacNeil/Lehrer News Hour," ABC's "World News Tonight," C-Span's "Booknotes," and NPR's "Morning Edition."

 

I've received 16 Simon Rockower Awards from the American Jewish Press Association; five A.D. Emmart Awards for writing on the humanities; two Smolar Awards for Excellence in Jewish Journalism; two National Mass Media Certificates of Recognition from the National Conference of Christians and Jews. I've spoken around the country, from Nantucket to Los Angeles, from Sag Harbor to San Francisco, and to such organizations as the 92nd Street Y in New York, the Anti-Defamation League, the Arab-American Anti-Discrimination Committee and an international convention of the Psychic Entertainers Association.