Alumnus authors book about Afghanistan's 'Romeo and Juliet'

February 16, 2016

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — An award-winning journalist and Penn State alumnus who has worked in more than 150 countries and covered every war that involved the United States (and some that have not) for the past three decades, has written a nonfiction book about an Afghanistan couple that risked everything to be together.

Rod Nordland’s book, “The Lovers: Afghanistan’s Romeo and Juliet,” focuses on women’s rights in the Muslim world and tells the story about Zakia and Ali, who grew up in different tribes in Afghanistan, but fell in love as teenagers. Despite their many differences and cultural norms, the couple defied their families and ran away together. They are still hiding from Zakia’s family, who wants to kill her. “The Lovers” is available in print and digital formats.

Nordland, who earned his journalism degree from the University in 1972, is the international correspondent at large and Kabul bureau chief for The New York Times. He has been with the Times since 2009 after previously working for Newsweek. He began his foreign reporting career for his hometown paper, The Philadelphia Inquirer, covering the Far East and Central America. He is a native of Philadelphia, where he has a large extended family, and his immediate family lives in England.

Nordland was part of a Pulitzer Prize-winning team at the Inquirer, and he was also a finalist for a Pulitzer Prize in international reporting. He has won two George Polk Awards, several Overseas Press Club awards and the 2013 Heywood Broun Award, among many others.

In 2007, he earned a Penn State Distinguished Alumni Award, the University’s highest award for an individual recognizing “personal life, professional achievements and community service that exemplify the objectives of The Pennsylvania State University.” He had previously been honored as an Alumni Fellow, signifying alumni who have proven to be outstanding in their chosen field.

  • Book cover for "The Lovers"

    Alumnus Rod Nordland authored the nonfiction book "The Lovers."

    IMAGE: Penn State
Last Updated June 02, 2021