Real Fiction Radio Broadcast: September 9, 2020 12 p.m. ET on WERA-FM 96.7 Arlington, VA
THE SCIENTIST AND THE SPY: A TRUE STORY OF CHINA, THE FBI, AND INDUSTRIAL ESPIONAGE
Mara Hvistendahl was a journalist working in Shanghai when a news headline caught her attention. A Chinese scientist was arrested for stealing seeds in an Iowa cornfield. Hvistendahl spent years retracing the steps of Robert Ho and the industrial espionage scheme to reverse-engineer hybrid corn seeds growing in the Midwest.
Mara Hvistendahl is an investigative reporter with The Intercept and the author of The Scientist and The Spy: A True Story of China, the FBI, and Industrial Espionage (Riverhead 2020), which The Washington Post called “a riveting whodunit” and The Wall Street Journal described as “captivating and well-researched.” Her first book, Unnatural Selection, was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize. Mara’s writing has been published in The Atlantic, The New York Times, Scientific American, WIRED, and other publications. She has testified before Congress, been a keynote speaker at conferences, and appeared on the BBC, CBS, MSNBC, NPR, and other radio and television outlets.
Before joining The Intercept, Mara was a founding member of Deca, a cooperative of award-winning writers creating narrative journalism about the world. Her work has been supported by New America and the Minnesota State Arts Board. For eight years, Mara was based in Shanghai, where she worked as China bureau chief for Science, wrote the longform true crime story And The City Swallowed Them, and had a Paleozoic fossil named after her. She is proficient in Mandarin Chinese and Spanish.