Rose George studied modern languages at the University of Oxford, then international politics at the University of Pennsylvania. She became an intern at the Nation magazine in New York in 1994, in offices so scruffy they were chosen for the set of a Woody Allen film, and has been writing ever since. Her first book, A Life Removed, looked at the reality of refugee life. The Big Necessity, an exploration of sanitation, has been putting people off lunch since 2008, and Deep Sea and Foreign Going (2013), on merchant shipping, enabled her to run away to sea. She is now thinking seriously about blood.
Work published elsewhere
Deep Sea and Foreign Going
An account of a container ship voyage – through five seas, pirate waters and weather, from Europe to Singapore – and of the secretive shipping industry.
The Big Necessity
An exploration of the modern state of sanitation, looking at culture, psychology, public health and more, in sewers, slums and high-tech Japanese toilet factories.
The cup and the knife
An essay on Rose George’s family’s experience of caring for her stepfather, who lived with dementia.
The taboo of menstruation
A New York Times op-ed on menstruation.
Dirty little secret
A piece on Liberia, whose president, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, is one of the few to speak openly about toilets, sanitation and “poo-pooing in the open”.