Alina Simone

Contributor to PRI's The World

Afghanistan After Karzai: A Washington-Kabul Town Hall

Alina Simone is a writer based in New York. She tends to favor marginalia over plot.

I actually started my career as an indie-rock singer and spent most of my time in far-flung bars and basements from Olympia, Washington to Arkhangelsk, Russia, where I was psyched to learn there are rock clubs even in the Arctic Circle. Perhaps it was these years spent in distant hidey-holes singing to four forlorn Swedes that keeps me inspired, as a writer, to seek out stories that are unusual, arcane and perhaps interesting only to me.In addition to reporting for PRI's The World, I am the author of the essay collection, You Must Go and Win, and the novel, Note to Self (both published by Faber). My writing has also appeared in The New York Times, New York Times Magazine and The Wall Street Journal, among other places. 

A man stands under a tent talking to people sitting down

This Brooklyn pop-up school taps immigrants’ expertise — by making them teachers

Immigrant researchers and professors must often take low-paid “survival jobs” in the US. At Brooklyn’s summer Open Air University, they’re sharing their niche expertise.

fake plants

Cashing in on the weed industry

Health & Medicine
Wigs hung on a wall.

This Orthodox Jewish wig shop in Brooklyn says covering hair doesn’t mean ‘you have to be ugly’ 

A KGB agent disguise kit is shown with make-up and a wig.

You can take selfies with once-secret KGB spycraft at this NY museum

Arts, Culture & Media
Alina Simone's daughter Zoe teaches her Russian-speaking grandfather some basic Chinese.

Russian-speaking New Yorker would rather her daughter learn Chinese

A protester holds up a sign at an anti-Trump demonstration in Washington DC.

The Putinization of Donald Trump

Global Politics

Many Russians perceive Donald Trump as an American version of Vladimir Putin. It’s partly based on Trump’s bombastic rhetoric, but also on how his speeches and tweets are translated into Russian.

Linguist Edward Vajda with a Ket woman in her home village in Siberia, Russia.

Is this remote Siberian language an ancestor to Navajo?


Linguist Edward Vajda went to Siberia with a hunch. He returned with evidence linking a remote Siberian language with Navajo and other Athabaskan languages.

Bunched up computer wires.

The strange history of ransomware

Global Politics

The first ransomware virus was unleashed in 1989 — so WannaCry is hardly a new idea. But it has some novel techniques.

Explorers Tom and Tina Sjogren stand in front of a blackboard at a makers space.

Dreaming of a DIY mission to Mars


NASA and high-tech billionaires aren’t the only ones who want to get to the red planet.

For nine years, Shou Hatori ran a nighttime moving company that helped people disappear in Japan.

Japan’s ‘evaporated people’ have become an obsession for this French couple


In Japan, it’s thought that thousands of people disappear themselves, driven underground by the stigma of debt, job loss, even failing an exam.