Dr. Tara Isabella Burton joins Religion News Service as columnist

COLUMBIA, Mo. — Religion News Service (RNS) is pleased to announce that Dr. Tara Isabella Burton will become a columnist beginning this month.  Burton will focus, among other things, on Millennials and spirituality, as well as the rise of the “Nones:” the 24 percent of Americans who do not identify with a religious tradition, but who overwhelmingly believe in some form of a higher power.

Burton is the author of Social Creature: A Novel (Doubleday, 2018) and a book about the rise of the religiously unaffiliated in America, to be published in November 2019 by Public Affairs.  Burton completed a doctorate in theology as a Clarendon Scholar at Trinity College, Oxford University.  Most recently, Burton was the religion writer for Vox.com.

“The ‘Nones’ and millennials are an important part of the American religious landscape,” said RNS editor-in-chief Bob Smietana. “We’re so pleased that Tara—an outstanding journalist—will be joining RNS to write about them for us.”

"I've long been a huge fan of RNS and their sharp analysis of the current -- and future -- religious landscapes,” said Burton. “I'm thrilled to be able to join the team, and bring my own research about the rise of the religious "nones" and spiritual identity beyond the bounds of organized religion to an organization I admire so immensely."

“Religion News Service continues to attract top-flight writers and we’re thrilled to welcome Tara to our roster,” said Tom Gallagher, CEO and Publisher, Religion News Service. “She’s a first-rate writer.”

Burton has followed a female hermit into the remote Caucasusgotten love amulets from Turkish Islamic shamans, and held signs with the street preachers of Las Vegas.

Her work on religion, culture, and place can be found at National Geographic, The Wall Street Journal, Al Jazeera, The Economist's 1843, Aeon, The BBC, The Atlantic, The American Interest, Salon, The New Statesman, The Telegraph, and more. Her fiction can or shall be found in  Granta, Volume 1 Brooklyn, The New Yorker's Daily Shouts, Great Jones Street, Tor.com, PANK,Shimmerand other places. She has received The Spectator's 2012 Shiva Naipaul Memorial Prize and a 2016 Lowell Thomas Award.

Burton’s first novel, Social Creature, was praised by The New York Times' Janet Maslin as "a wicked original with echoes of the greats", was published by Doubleday (US) and Bloomsbury/Raven (UK) in June 2018. It will be translated into nine more languages, including Italian, French, and Russian. She is also working on a non-fiction book about a book about the rise of the religiously unaffiliated in America, to be published in November 2019 by Public Affairs.


Religion News Service is an independent, nonprofit news organization that covers spirituality, culture and ethics, reported by a staff of professional journalists. Founded in 1934, RNS seeks to inform readers with objective reporting and insightful commentary and is relied upon by secular and faith-based news organizations in a number of countries. RNS is a subsidiary of the Religion News Foundation and affiliated with the Missouri School of Journalism at the University of Missouri. For more information, visit religionnews.com.