Daniel Alarcón began working as a journalist in 2004, first in print for Latin American outlets such as Etiqueta Negra, and later for American and European publications including Harper’s, the New York Times Magazine, El País, and Granta, where he was named a Contributing Editor in 2010. In 2012, he co-founded Radio Ambulante, a groundbreaking Spanish language podcast, the first of its kind covering Latin America with long-form narrative radio journalism. Under his leadership, Radio Ambulante has reported stories from all over the region, and partnered with outlets like Public Radio International and BBC Mundo to reach audiences across the US and worldwide.
Alarcón’s long-form journalism has included deeply reported pieces focusing mainly on Peru, the country where he was born, with topics ranging from the rise of the new nationalist left, the book piracy industry, and the emerging democracy inside Lima’s most notorious prison, Lurigancho. This last piece, “All Politics is Local,” was published in Harper’s in 2012, and was a finalist for a National Magazine Award that year.
Alarcón began his career as a fiction writer. His first short story, “City of Clowns,” appeared in The New Yorker in 2003, and HarperCollins published his first collection, "War by Candlelight," two years later. His first novel, "Lost City Radio," was published in 2007, named a Best Book of the Year by critics across the country, and eventually translated into over a dozen languages. "At Night We Walk in Circles," his most recent novel, was a finalist for the 2014 PEN/Faulkner Foundation Award.
Alarcón graduated from Columbia University in 1999 with a BA in Anthropology; he earned an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Iowa in 2004. In 2012-13, Alarcón joined the University of California Berkeley’s Graduate Journalism School as an Investigative Reporting Fellow. In 2021, he was named a MacArthur Fellow.