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Erika Hayasaki's feature stories and essays have appeared in WIRED, The Atlantic, Slate, The New Republic, Newsweek, TIME, The Wall Street Journal, Glamour, Foreign Policy, The California Sunday Magazine, Pacific Standard, and various other publications. She spent nine years as a staff metro reporter, education writer, and New York-based national correspondent for the Los Angeles Times. She is also a contributing editor for Narratively. Erika teaches courses in nonfiction storytelling, including digital, science, news and medical narrative writing at the University of California, Irvine, where she is an associate professor in the Literary Journalism Program—the only undergraduate degree of its kind in the nation dedicated to studying and practicing the kind of longform journalism made popular in magazines and books.
In 2014, she published her first book, The Death Class: A True Story About Life (Simon & Schuster), which has been featured in The New York Times, Entertainment Weekly, The Chicago Tribune, on NPR, MSNBC, USA Today, and others. The Death Class has been translated into Korean, Chinese, and Polish. She is also the author of two bestselling Amazon Kindle Singles (e-books), Dead or Alive (2012), and Drowned by Corn (2014), which is also available in Japanese.
She has won awards from the Association of Sunday Feature Editors for her Los Angeles Times Magazine profile, "The Daughter," and from the Society for Features Journalism for her digital story, "The Girl Who Wouldn't Die." She received the Los Angeles Times Best Writing award for her stories about a new teacher's plight, a boy's dangerous journey to school and a cultural divide at a high school. She is a recipient of the American Society of Newspaper Editors Breaking News Award, and has twice been a finalist for the Livingston Award, including in 2008 for her reconstruction of the Virginia Tech shootings inside of a French class. Her WIRED profile of a woman with no episodic memory was featured in Longform's Best of Science writing list of 2016, and her WIRED cover story on a genetic volume knob for pain was named to Longform's Best of Science writing list of 2017. She is also a 2018 Alicia Patterson Fellow, receiving the Cissy Patterson award for science and environmental reporting.
She lives in Southern California with her husband, and their daughter and identical twin boys.