It was the late eighties, while on a semester abroad in India, that I decided to become a journalist. The cultural adventures of that College Junior Year Abroad and the challenge of writing about them were too great to ignore.  After graduation, a friend living in Harare enticed me to Zimbabwe. The southern African country had already embarked on the road to deterioration, and I was to witness it for three years, stringing for the Associated Press and freelancing for other US and international media---AIDS, student riots, safaris. 

 

Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism was to follow. After I received my master’s, I went on a year’s internship at the Jordan Times in Amman.  I reported on a wide range of issues while there—the Middle East peace talks, US sanctions on Iraq, women in the Jordanian police force, archeological digs, and live bathers in the Dead Sea.

 

Back to New York, I worked for the AP and then Reuters, covering the oil industry, the environment, and biotech.  At Reuters, I met Aly Sujo.  Reared in Venezuela and educated in the UK and the US, he understood that I wasn’t meant to fuel the 24-hour news cycle. I wanted to chase stories that had to be told with time and depth. Thus encouraged, I left my job in 2000 and began a three-year Alaskan odyssey in the company of my cousin Gay Salisbury.  This resulted in “The Cruelest Miles: the Heroic Story of Dogs and Men In a Race Against an Epidemic.”  We found an astonishing story of courage and self-sacrifice in a community’s fearless response to children dying of diphtheria in the frozen, inaccessible city of Nome.

 

I next joined forces with Aly, by then my husband. A  journalist for 20 years, he came from a family of artists and collectors, and had a unique insight into the art world. Thus equipped, we pursued the convicted con man John Drewe across the British landscape. Nuclear physicist, professor, patron of the arts, raconteur, he was the architect of one of the most elaborate and extensive art frauds of the 20th century.

 

Aly passed away in October 2008 after we completed the manuscript.  He remains in those pages and in our beloved daughter Sophie. 

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Laney Salisbury

Aly Sujo 

Aug 26, 1949-Oct 4, 2008

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Photo Credit: Linda M. Dubilier