Columbia School of Journalism Mentorship

The Center for Nonfiction provides professional feedback on thesis projects by publishing insiders. Our current mentors are, alphabetically:

Alessandra Bastagli
Alessandra is the Editorial Director at the recently launched publishers, Astra House, which focuses on mission-driven narrative nonfiction. Previously she was an executive editor at Dey Street Books, signing books by Rep. Ilhan Omar, investigative reporter Julie K. Brown, PEN CEO Suzanne Nossel, Prof. Lawrence Lessig, commentator R. Eric Thomas, and journalist Helena Andrews-Dryer. Before that, she was the editorial director at Nation Books. During her tenure there, the imprint published many notable titles, including the National Book Award winner, New York Times bestseller, and Washington Post notable book of the year, Stamped from the Beginning by Ibram X. Kendi; the J. Anthony Lukas Prize winner, shortlisted for the Hurston/Wright Foundation Award, and finalist for the Helen Bernstein Award for Excellence in Journalism, Another Day in the Death of America by Gary Younge; and the critically acclaimed The Home That Was Our Country by Alia Malek. Alessandra also worked as digital features editor at Al Jazeera America, as a senior editor at Free Press at Simon & Schuster, and as an executive editor at Palgrave Macmillan. She is also the published translator, from the German, of Jurek Becker, and from the Italian, of Primo Levi.
Tom Namako
A graduate of the Columbia School of Journalism, Tom is the News Director at BuzzFeed News. He was previously a metro editor at The Wall Street Journal and New York Post, and was a reporter at the Post, Philadelphia City Paper, and Press of Atlantic City.
Eric Roston
Eric is an award-winning journalist who has spent more than 15 years covering climate change in all its incarnations – from science, to technology, finance, business, and government. Since 2011 he has served as Sustainability Editor for Bloomberg News, at first developing and overseeing a site devoted to the topic. He has returned to writing stories, graphics, and video since 2015, including several that have circled the world and won awards or drawn significant critical attention. His book, The Carbon Age: How Life’s Core Element Has Become Civilization’s Greatest Threat, was published in 2008 by Bloomsbury USA. Roston appears publicly at events or on radio and TV. Formative experiences include Slate, Life, Esquire, Time, and The New York Times. He holds an M.A. in Russian history, and a B.A. in modern European history, both from Columbia University.
Pronoy Sarkar
Pronoy is an editor at St. Martin’s Press. He edits and publishes nonfiction books in a range of areas, including science, history, pop culture, journalism, business and economics, and big think, among other areas. From leading experts to cultural figures, his authors tend to expand the dialogue in a given field of public interest. Authors he’s worked with include Erwin Chemerinsky, Paul French, Wu-Tang Clan, Linda Yueh, Michael D’Antonio, former Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, and Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Tony Messenger. Some projects include Mauro Guillen’s 2030: How Today’s Biggest Trends Will Collide and Reshape the Future of Everything, Eric A. Posner’s The Demagogue’s Playbook: The Battle for American Democracy From the Founders to Trump, Justin Gregg’s If Nietzsche Were a Narwhal: What Animal Intelligence Reveals About Human Stupidity, Eben Kirksey’s The Mutant Project: Inside the Global Race to Genetically Modify Humans, and rap icon Ghostface Killah’s memoir. Previously, he worked at Picador US and Simon & Schuster. He is a graduate of Duke University and lives in New York City.
Geraldine Sealey
Geraldine is the managing editor of The Marshall Project, an award-winning nonprofit newsroom covering criminal justice. Previously, she was The Marshall Project’s features editor and held senior editorial positions in several national news organizations and magazines. Sealey is the recipient of a Pew International Journalism Fellowship as well as multiple awards, including a Sigma Delta Chi from the Society of Professional Journalists. She has worked on teams that won a Peabody and several National Magazine Awards.
Tracy Sherrod
Tracy is the editorial director of Amistad, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers. Her most recent titles include National Book Award winner Jacqueline Woodson’s Another Brooklyn, NAACP Image Award winner Dick Gregory’s Defining Moments in Black History, James Beard Winner Michael Twitty’s The Cooking Gene, Jenifer Lewis’s The Mother of Black Hollywood, and forthcoming titles by Zora Neale Hurston and Paul Beatty. The imprint publishes Steve Harvey, Ursula Burns, Cicely Tyson, Zain Asher, Henry Louis Gates, Jr., Timbaland, and other esteemed writers and personalities.
Stephen Wesley
Stephen is the American history and politics editor at Columbia University Press. He attended King’s College and the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. Before Columbia, he was an editor at Kirkus Media and has worked at literary agencies in New York City.