John Darnton

John Darnton (born November 20, 1941 in New York City) is an American journalist who wrote for the New York Times. He is a two-time winner of the Polk Award, of which he is now the curator, and the 1982 Pulitzer Prize for International Reporting.[1] He also moonlights as a novelist who writes scientific and medical thrillers.

John Darnton
BornNovember 20, 1941 (age 77)
OccupationJournalist and author
Notable credit(s)
New York Times; Neanderthal, The Experiment, Mind Catcher, The Darwin Conspiracy (novels)
Spouse(s)Nina Darnton
ChildrenKyra Grann and Liza (daughters), Jamie (son)
Parent(s)Byron Darnton and Eleanor Choate Darnton
RelativesRobert Darnton (brother)
David Grann (son-in-law)


After graduating from the University of Wisconsin–Madison, Darnton joined the New York Times as a copyboy in 1966. Two years later he became a reporter and for the next eight years he worked in and around New York City, including stints as the Connecticut correspondent during the Black Panther trials in New Haven, and as a City Hall reporter in the Lindsay and Beame administrations.[2]

In 1976 he went abroad as a foreign correspondent, first covering Africa out of Lagos, Nigeria, and then, when the military government there expelled him in 1977, out of Nairobi, Kenya. He covered protests in South Africa, liberation movements in Rhodesia, guerrilla fighting in Ethiopia, Somalia, Zaire, and the fall of Idi Amin in Uganda. His work in Africa earned him the George Polk Award in 1978.

In 1979, based in Warsaw, Poland, he covered Eastern Europe for the Times and received both the Polk Award and the 1982 Pulitzer Prize for International Reporting for his coverage of Poland under martial law and the rise of the Solidarity movement (he had to smuggle dispatches out of the country). He went on to become the bureau chief in Madrid and London and also served as the deputy foreign editor, the metropolitan editor, and the cultural news editor at the Times. He retired from the Times in 2005.[2]


In addition to his work as a journalist, Darnton moonlighted as a fiction writer, ultimately publishing five novels "notable for their sinister themes and exotic settings, for overcooked plots that seemed custom-made for Hollywood".[3]

Since his initial success, Darnton has continued his fiction writing, in general sticking to thrillers with scientific and historical narratives:


After retiring from the Times in 2005, Darnton began teaching journalism as a visiting professor at the State University of New York at New Paltz.[9] In 2009, John Darnton was named curator of the George Polk Awards.[2]

Personal life

In 2011 he forayed into nonfiction, publishing Almost a Family, a memoir about growing up without a father that also dealt heavily with alcoholism. His father Byron "Barney" Darnton had been a New York Times war correspondent until he was killed off the coast of New Guinea while covering the Pacific War during World War II, when John was 11 months old and his brother Robert (now a renowned cultural historian) was three years old.[8][10]

Darnton and his wife, journalist Nina Darnton, live in New York City. They have two daughters, Kyra and Liza, and a son, Jaime.


  1. ^ "International Reporting". The Pulitzer Prizes. Retrieved 23 March 2014.
  2. ^ a b c "Former Times Editor Will Oversee Polk Awards". New York Times "City Room" blog. 16 April 2009.
  3. ^ a b Hammer, Joshua (3 August 2008). "Anybody We Know?". New York Times.
  4. ^ "Neanderthal Hardcover". Retrieved 23 March 2014.
  5. ^ "The Experiment Hardcover". Retrieved 23 March 2014.
  6. ^ "Mind Catcher Hardcover". Retrieved 23 March 2014.
  7. ^ "The Darwin Conspiracy Hardcover". Retrieved 23 March 2014.
  8. ^ a b Mnookin, Seth (19 September 2008). "Sometimes a Deadline Can Be Murder". New York Times.
  9. ^ "Ottaway Sr. Visiting Professorship". State University of New York at New Paltz. Retrieved 23 March 2014.
  10. ^ Cheever, Susan (18 March 2011). "A Journalist Investigates a Father Lost at War". New York Times.
1982 Pulitzer Prize

The following are the Pulitzer Prizes for 1982.

Byron Darnton

Byron Darnton (November 8, 1897 – October 18, 1942) was an American reporter and war correspondent for The New York Times in the Pacific theater during World War II.

He was killed in 1942 by a bomb dropped from an American B-25 Mitchell bomber, the tenth American war correspondent killed in action in the war. Darnton's work in reporting on the war in the Pacific was respected by military officials, including General Douglas MacArthur, who personally reported Darnton’s passing to the Times and Darnton’s widow.

Charles Marvin (coach)

Charles Edward Marvin (born c. 1928) was an American football and baseball coach. Marvin served as the head football coach at Adrian College in Adrian, Michigan. He held that position for six seasons, from 1962 until 1967. His coaching record at Adrian included 14–33. He married Carol Jane Wear.


Darnton is an English surname. Therefore, the most likely origins are either (1) related to some place (2) related to some occupation (3) perhaps indicative of some relationship.

The word, and its components, Darn - ton, indicate that (2) and (3) are unlikely. Therefore, most ancestors are likely to come from the same place.

The -ton at the end is one of the most common endings in English place names. Its meaning can be such as town, village, hamlet, farmstead, enclosure, fence or hedge. Several writers suggest this has become an enclosed village or farmstead. One writer suggests that where the prefix to -ton is a name, the -ton is more likely to refer to an enclosed farmstead.

Darn- is more difficult, and most sources seem to favour it being an abbreviation of some kind.

An analysis of key life events shows that most have occurred in North England, with South County Durham and North Yorkshire having the highest frequencies. The place with the largest number of life events we can trace since 1450 is Staindrop in South County Durham. Therefore, the answer probably lies there.


Darnton may be an abbreviation of Darlington. This is the explicit explanation given in Longstaffe's History of Darlington (2nd edition, 1909).

"In the earliest records, however, the name [Darlington] occurs as Dearnington, Dernington, Derningtune, forms correctly contracted in Darnton and Dernton." p3.

At pp 5–6, Longstaffe gives several references to specific people with the name Darnton.

According to Ekwall (4th ed., 1960) Darlington is 'The Tun of Deornop's people'.


Barber (British Family Names, 894) refers Darnton to Darrington in North Yorkshire (near Pontefract).

Ekwall has Darrington as 'The Tun of Dægheard's people', with a Domesday Book reference to the name Darni(n)tone.

Johnson has Darrington as 'Town, village, of Deorna'.

J. Horsfall Turner (Yorkshire Place Names or toponomy as recorded in the Yorkshire Domesday Book 1086:...) published in Bingley date unknown but in the range 1888-1920 in discussing etymology has 'Darn' as a Celtic derivative for water or river, Dearne as bright water, swift, and he indicates Darnin and Darni as original owners. (pp254–5)

Darnton Rebus

John Darnton, 30th Abbot of Fountains Abbey, was responsible for much work including the West Window. Over that window is a stone corbel carved as a rebus (a representation of a name by pictures or figures) for John Darnton. This Darnton Rebus is now very badly corroded, probably through pollution, but it was distinct early this century. The construction and interpretation of this rebus is that the bird is a "Dern' and the barrel held by the bird is a 'ton'. An illustration of the Darnton Rebus can be found at the principal Darnton website (see below).

The most comprehensive information about the Darnton name, and a collection of information about people who have had the name, can be found at the principal Darnton website. [1] The original information on this page about the origin of the name Darnton was contributed by the author of the material on the Darnton website.

The surname Darnton may refer to:

Bernard Darnton, New Zealand politician

Christian Darnton, British composer

Byron Darnton, American journalist

John Darnton, American journalist

Robert Darnton, American historian

Thomas Darnton, English cricketer

E. E. Tarr

Edward Eugene Tarr (May 2, 1880 in Maryland – August 13, 1950 in Los Angeles, California) was an American football and basketball coach.

Frank Coombs (American football)

Frank Coombs was an American football and basketball coach. He was the head football coach at Adrian College in Adrian, Michigan for one season, in 191, compiling a record of 3–3. Coombswas also the head basketball coach at Adrian in 1914–15, tallying a mark of 3–10.

George Polk Awards

Not to be confused with the George Polk Award that was presented (1948–1973) by the Overseas Press Club of America.The George Polk Awards in Journalism are a series of prestigious American journalism awards presented annually by Long Island University in New York in the United States. A writer for Idea Lab, a group blog hosted on the website of PBS, described the award as "one of only a couple of journalism prizes that means anything".The awards were established in 1949 in memory of George Polk, a CBS correspondent who was murdered in 1948 while covering the Greek Civil War (1946–49). In 2009, former New York Times editor John Darnton was named curator of the George Polk Awards.See list of George Polk Award winners for award recipients.

Josh Marshall's blog, Talking Points Memo, was the first blog to receive the Polk Award in 2008 for their reporting on the 2006 U.S. Attorneys scandal.

Harve A. Oliphant

Harvey Andrew "Harve" Oliphant (July 7, 1912 – February 20, 1998) was an American football coach. Oliphant was the head football coach at Adrian College in Adrian, Michigan for four seasons, from 1938 to 1941, compiling a record of 5–26–1. He was also the head basketball coach at Adrian from 1938 to 1942, tallying a mark of 15–51.

Harvey E. Orwick

Harvey Edson Orwick (April 27, 1890 – June 1949) was an American football and basketball coach. He was the head football coach at Adrian College in Adrian, Michigan for one seasons, in 1919, compiling a record of 4–2. Leith was also the head basketball coach at Adrian from 1919 to 1921, tallying a mark of 10–21. He was born on a farm near Arlington, Ohio.

Jim Deere

Jim Deere (born June 2, 1967) is an American football coach and former player. Deere is the head football coach at the Adrian College in Adrian, Michigan, a position he had held since 2010. Deere played college football at Adrian as a defensive back from 1985 to 1988

John Darnton (American football)

Chester John Darnton (October 13, 1918 – April 3, 2015) was an American football and basketball coach. Darnton was the head football coach at Adrian College in Adrian, Michigan for one season, in 1950, comping a record of 2–6. He graduated from Adrian in 1943. He was also the head basketball coach at Adrian for the 1950–51 season, tallying a mark of 5–17.

List of Adrian Bulldogs head football coaches

The Adrian Bulldogs football program is a college football team that represents Adrian College in the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association, a part of the Division III (NCAA). The team has had 24 head coaches since its first recorded football game in 1892. The current coach is Jim Deere who first took the position for the 2010 season.

Neanderthal (disambiguation)

Neanderthal, or Homo neanderthalensis, was a species of the genus Homo that inhabited Europe and parts of western Asia.

Neanderthal may also refer to:

Neandertal, a valley near Düsseldorf, Germany, famous for the discovery of the first found Neanderthal in 1856

Neanderthal 1, the skull found in Neandertal in 1856

Neanderthal (novel), a 1996 novel by John Darnton

Neanderthal (band), a 1990s power violence band

Neanderthal (album), a 2008 album of Danish band Spleen United

Neanderthal (novel)

Neanderthal is a bestselling novel written by John Darnton published by Random House in 1996.

Phyllis E. Grann

Phyllis E. Grann was the first woman CEO of a major publishing firm, Penguin Putnam, and one of the most commercially successful publishers in recent history. She was a long-time editor for Knopf Doubleday, and a former CEO of the Putnam Berkley Group and was also CEO of Penguin Putnam. Grann was responsible for publishing many notable and bestselling authors at Penguin including A. Scott Berg, Judy Blume, Tom Clancy, Patricia Cornwell, Sue Grafton, Daniel Silva, and Kurt Vonnegut. At Doubleday Grann acquired and edited Jeffrey Toobin, Tina Brown, Bob Herbert, Ayelet Waldman and Tim Weiner. At Knopf she edited John Darnton.

Robert Darnton

Robert Choate Darnton (born May 10, 1939) is an American cultural historian and academic librarian who specializes in 18th-century France.

He was director of the Harvard University Library from 2007 to 2016.

Robert Gillis

Robert J. Gillis (June 21, 1926 – April 19, 2009) was an American football coach born in Bellows Falls, Vermont. He studied at S. from Adrian College in Adrian, Michigan, the University of Michigan and Springfield College. Gillis was the head football coach at Adrian College. He held that position for three seasons, from 1956 until 1958. His coaching record at Adrian was 9–15. He was a resident of Wolfeboro, New Hampshire.

Ron Labadie

Ron Labadie (born April 7, 1949) is an American football scout and former player and coach. He has been a scout for the Miami Dolphins of the National Football League (NFL) since 1990. Labadie was the head football coach at Adrian College located in Adrian, Michigan. He held that position for eight seasons, from 1982 until 1989. His coaching record at Adrian was 53–21.

Thomas Feyer

Thomas Feyer (born June 2, 1953, in Budapest, Hungary) is an American journalist, and has been letters editor of The New York Times since 1999. He has selected, edited and published letters from thousands of well-known and ordinary readers alike, including Nobel laureates, Pulitzer Prize winners, politicians, writers, actor, business leaders, doctors, lawyers, teachers and, years before he became president, Donald J. Trump. On Oct. 18, 2018, he published The Times's first "comic strip to the editor" on the daily letters page, submitted by Stan Mack in response to a Times opinion video about fascism in America.

Feyer emigrated from Hungary to Austria with his parents in 1956, arrived in the United States in 1957 and was naturalized as a U.S. citizen in 1962. He is a 1975 graduate of Princeton University and a 1976 graduate of the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.

As an editor on The Times's foreign desk from 1980 to 1999, he edited the dispatches of foreign correspondents including the Pulitzer Prize winners Thomas L. Friedman, John F. Burns, Bill Keller, Nicholas D. Kristof, Sheryl WuDunn, John Darnton, Serge Schmemann, David E. Sanger, Steven Erlanger, Barry Bearak, David K. Shipler and Henry Kamm.

Feyer's work as letters editor has been cited in The New York Times, The New Yorker, The Huffington Post, Politico, The Nation, Slate, NPR, Adweek and on many other websites and blogs. His writing has appeared in The New York Times, Newsday, the Huffington Post and Change: The Magazine of Higher Learning.

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