Though she is best known for her book Enrique's Journey, Sonia Nazario has had a distinguished career as an award-winning journalist and writer.
Nazario was born on September 8, 1960, in Madison, Wisconsin, to Argentinean immigrants. Her father, Mahafud, was born in Argentina and is of Syrian descent. Her mother Clara was born in Poland, but fled to Argentina during WWII to escape persecution. Nazario’s parents emigrated to the United States in 1960. Her father wanted to escape Argentina's militaristic government, which suppressed academic freedom. Nazario was raised in both Kansas and in Buenos Aires.
Nazario earned her B.A. in History from Williams College in 1982, and her M.A. in Latin American Studies from the University of California, Berkeley in 1988. In 2010, she was awarded an honorary doctorate from Mt. St. Mary’s College. Nazario initially worked as a staff reporter for the Wall Street Journal, covering social issues from New York, Miami, Atlanta, and Los Angeles for over ten years. She began working for the Los Angeles Times in 1993 as a reporter for projects and urban affairs.
Nazario has won numerous awards for her journalism, including the George Polk Award for Local Reporting in 1994, for "The Hunger Wars -- Fighting for Food in Southern California." "Orphans of Addiction" was a 1998 Pulitzer Prize finalist, and winner of the National Council on Crime and Delinquency PASS Award. Nazario also won the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence of the San Fernando Valley Special Recognition Award for her article “Sobering Facts” in 1999. She won the Pulitzer Prize for feature writing for her series “Enrique’s Journey,” first published in The Los Angeles Times in 2002. In 2012, Nazario was listed among the “40 Women Who Changed Media Business in the Past Forty Years” by Columbia Journalism Review.