I’m Jessica Carew Kraft. I’ve always been a writer and an artist, but my medium keeps changing. In the beginning, I was named after Hall of Fame baseball player Rod Carew, but my personal pantheon grew to include Susan Sontag, James Thurber, Margaret Mead, David Rakoff, Maira Kalman and the inimitable Iris Apfel.
My reporting on health, culture, and education has been published in The New York Times, The Atlantic, Forbes, KQED, Christian Science Monitor, ARTNews, YOGA Magazine, and other publications. I’ve also written award-winning content for Politico and UC Hastings Magazine. I ghost-wrote this book by Hearsay Social CEO Clara Shih. I’m working on another book about the frontiers of regenerative medicine.
My journalism is activism. I reported from Tunisia about its post-revolutionary arts scene, covered emerging mindful tech designers at Stanford, and was the first to write about a racial controversy in collegiate debate competitions for the Atlantic.com, in an article that ended up going viral (and inspired an episode of This American Life). My San Francisco Chronicle investigation into Medi-Cal exposed its unjust genetic testing policy. One year later the California senate took up the matter. I’ve shed light on many hidden environmental hazards and chronicled the underside of sustainable food.
My forthcoming graphic comic memoir about the art, science, and mysteries of motherhood is called Motherwhelmed.
I am a member of the San Francisco Writers’ Grotto and an artist in residence at San Francisco’s newest social experiment/club, The Battery. I help organize a longform journalism conference at the Berkeley Journalism school, where writers learn to hew through stale vernacular and unearth literary dynamite. I make Jewish wedding documents (called ketubahs), paint public murals as a community service, and sew quite shabbily. I like to pretend I speak French. If I’m not running, I’m dancing.
Before all of this, I got a B.A. in sociology and anthropology from Swarthmore College and then pursued cultural anthropology for a Master’s at Yale. It didn’t add much luster, but I acquired another graduate degree in cultural studies from the University of London. I spent 7 years prostrate to the higher mind as an adjunct — (now I’m free!) But I’ll always be a scholar at heart, and maybe one of these days I’ll win a pub quiz.
On a continuum between kitschy and transcendent
I live in San Francisco with my husband (who is the good kind of attorney) and our two daughters, ages 7 and 3, who ride to school on our electric bike. One day I hope to retire to Mr. Plumbean’s house.