Justine Hardy
Books Journalism Yoga India Aid Projects

To see Justine discuss her work in Kashmir at the Oslo Freedom Forum, click on the photograph below

Justine at Oslo May 2011

Justine joins Martha (Kearney) to talk about making a home with a Muslim family in a place that is considered a crucible of Islamic extremism and how the experience inspired her romantic book The Wonder House. Listen to the interview...
BBC Radio 4 Woman’s Hour interview with Justine on The Wonder House
(Please note you will need RealPlayer to listen to this item)

Welcome to the About Section

Justine Hardy

About Justine

As an Indian politician said: 'Justine Hardy is in the business of blasting stigmas.' His comment was made to explain to his audience that Justine combines being a commentator with working at the grass roots in two fields that make many uneasy: conflict and the psychological damage of violence. As a writer and journalist, Justine has reported on, and written about, South Asia for twenty-five years. Simultaneously she set up, and continues to run an organisation in Kashmir, North India, rehabilitating those suffering from the psychological fallout of conflict. In short, Justine works as both writer and mental trauma specialist.

As a journalist and writer she is the author of six books, ranging in subject from war to Hindi film: The Ochre Border, 1995, was about the reopening of the Tibetan frontier-lands. Her second, Scoop-Wallah, 1999, was the story of her time as a journalist on an Indian newspaper in Delhi. It was short-listed for the Thomas Cook/Daily Telegraph Travel Book Award 2000 and serialised on BBC Radio 4. Goat: A Story of Kashmir and Notting Hill, 2000, was an inside look at life in Kashmir and Notting Hill, the juxtaposition of a warzone and a white hot corner of London drawn together by the latter's obsession with the fine pashmina weave of the Kashmir Valley. This was also serialised on BBC Radio 4. Bollywood Boy, 2002, was an international bestseller in which the Hindi film industry was the vehicle for a closer look at the obsession with fame as it crept West to East, and the darker side of an industry pumping out high-octane escapism for an audience of over a billion. The Wonder House, 2005, is a novel set in Kashmir against the background of the conflict, and based on Justine's experience of frontline coverage, time spent in militant training camps, and amongst the extremists. It was short-listed for the Author's Club best first novel in 2006. In the Valley of Mist, 2009, a return to non-fiction and the subject of Kashmir, charts the first twenty years of the conflict there through the prism of Kashmiri family life. It was also broadcast on BBC Radio 4's Book of the Week, and it was Runner-Up for the Dayton Literary Peace Prize in 2010. Justine's books have been translated into a wide range of languages, from Hindi to Serbian. She writes for The Financial Times, The Times, various Condé Nast magazines, including Vanity Fair and Condé Nast Traveler, and she also writes for The Times of India, and a wide range of other publications in India, the UK, and US.

As a documentary maker and presenter she started at Channel 4 in 1996 on BAFTA-nominated series Urban Jungle. She has worked on several BBC strands in India for both BBC and BBC World. Justine was a presenter on Travel TV for four years before co-presenting for the BBC with Jerry Hall on a series about Eastern philosophy's journey West.

Justine is a director of the NGO in India that she wrote about in Goat. Development Research and Action Group sets up schools in slum areas of Delhi that have been over-looked by the bigger international agencies, usually because of the problems of slum politics. After the earthquake in Kashmir in October 2005 Justine worked with a local NGO in Kashmir rebuilding homes, schools, and medical centres in some of the worst effected areas. Having completed her training in conflict trauma therapy, Justine founded Healing Kashmir in 2008, an integrated mental health project addressing the debilitating mental health situation in the region. This project is now expanding rapidly, with a main base in Kashmir's summer capital, Srinagar, outreach centres around the state, a suicide helpline, a primary mental health care programme, also across the state, and an internship programme. During her training in this field Justine worked with New Bridge in the UK for twenty-two years, a foundation focusing on the rehabilitation of life sentence prisoners before release.

In addition to running the project in Kashmir, she lectures regularly in the UK, US and India. Recent lectures include The Oslo Freedom Forum (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8SaBdQ6Pe2E and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1dzF--epDZY), The San Francisco Freedom Forum (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WM3GSzCO7GU), New York University (Gallatin School), Tufts University (Institute of Global Leadership) and The Royal Geographical Society (UK).

Justine is currently a residential INSPIRE fellow at Tufts University (USA) at the Institute of Global Leadership. She continues to study Eastern and Western philosophy, psychology, and conflict trauma. She also teaches yoga and philosophy in the UK, US, and in India.

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