Wolf Season, Helen Benedict's newest novel, will be released on October 10, 2017. Click here to purchase.


“No one writes with more authority or cool-eyed compassion about the experience of women in war both on and off the battlefield than Helen Benedict. In Wolf Season, she shows us the complicated ways in which the lives of those who serve and those who don’t intertwine and how—regardless of whether you are a soldier, the family of a soldier, or a refugee—the war follows you and your children for generations. Wolf Season is more than a novel for our times; it should be required reading.”
— Elissa Schappell, author of Use Me and Blueprints for Building Better Girls

“Fierce and vivid and full of hope, this story of trauma and resilience, of love and family, of mutual aid and solidarity in the aftermath of a brutal war is nothing short of magic. Helen Benedict is the voice of an American conscience that has all too often been silenced. To read these pages is to be transported to a world beyond hype and propaganda to see the human cost of war up close. This is not a novel that allows you to walk away unchanged.”
— Cara Hoffman, author of Be Safe I Love You and Running

“A novel of love, loss, and survival, Wolf Season delves into the complexities and murk of the after-war with blazing clarity. You will come to treasure these characters for their strengths and foibles alike. Helen Benedict has delivered yet again, and contemporary war literature is much the better for it.”
— Matt Gallagher, author of Kaboom: Embracing the Suck in a Savage Little War and Youngblood

Praise for SAND QUEEN
"This is 'The Things They Carried’ for women in Iraq."
--The Boston Globe, August 2011

"Gut-wrenching.... not recommended for the faint of heart...a novel that will leave you deeply unsettled if not shaken to the root of your being."
--Herald-Dispatch, September 2011

"Two women, an Iraqi refugee whose father and young brother were detained by American soldiers, and a 19-year-old American Army Specialist, wrestle with the complexities of war in Benedict's thrilling and thoughtful new novel."
--Publisher's Weekly, June 2011

". . . [I]t is clearly Ms. Benedict’s intention to turn stereotypes upside down, make readers squirm, and yet still keep them reading. Ms. Benedict pulls off this audacious gambit because she is an exceptional writer and storyteller. Her gritty depiction of a soldier’s life in the Iraq desert is particularly well done. SAND QUEEN is so powerful precisely because Helen Benedict is so pissed off.”
--New York Journal of Books, August 2011

"This is an eyeopening novel that allows readers to step into the combat boots of a young, inexperienced female soldier living and working in a place where the line between friend and foe is nearly impossible to distinguish. Funny, shocking, painful, and, at times, deeply disturbing, SAND QUEEN takes readers beyond the news and onto the battlefield."
--Booklist, June 2011

Helen Benedict is the author of six novels and five books of nonfiction. Her latest novel, SAND QUEEN, is set in the Iraq War. Culled from real life stories of female soldiers and Iraqis, SAND QUEEN offers a story of love, courage and struggle from the rare perspective of two young women on opposite sides of a war.

Helen Benedict's books, SAND QUEEN, and THE LONELY SOLDIER, along with her articles about the sexual assault of women in the military, inspired the award-winning documentary, The Invisible War, nominated for an Oscar in 2012. Benedict's work also inspired a landmark law suit against the Pentagon on behalf of victims of military sexual assault, and won the 2010 EMMA award from the National Political Caucus, the Ken Book Award, and the James Aronson Award for Social Justice Journalism, the Ida B. Wells Award for Bravery in Journalism.

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* Wolves, Benedict's new story about a woman veteran, published in the Chicago Tribune's Printers Row Journal on December 22, 2013. See Stories above for full text.

“Every war eventually yields works of art which transcend politics and history and illuminate our shared humanity. Helen Benedict’s brilliant new novel has done just that with this century’s American war in Iraq. SAND QUEEN is an important book by one our finest literary artists.”
--Robert Olen Butler, author of A Good Scent from a Strange Mountain

"In writing what might be the first major woman’s war story and alternating points of view between opposing sides, Columbia professor Helen Benedict has created something enormously fresh and immediate on this sadly ancient topic."
--Chronogram Magazine, August 2011

"In SAND QUEEN, Benedict has crafted a fictional explanation for some of the lurid real-world headlines from the Iraqi occupation. She also gives the reader a convincing and affecting portrait of two resilient young women caught up in war."
--Shelf Awareness, August 2011

“Helen Benedict’s compelling story provides an intimate picture of what it means to be a soldier, what it’s like to live on the battlefield, and what the ethical choices are that our troops have had to make in Iraq. At times funny, at times grimly painful, SAND QUEEN offers a new chapter in contemporary American history.”
--Roxana Robinson, author of Cost

“Anyone who claims to value the lives of our soldiers should read this powerful, harrowing, and revelatory novel.”
-- Valerie Martin, author of The Confessions of Edward Day and Trespass

SAND QUEEN is based on Benedict’s research for her most recent nonfiction book, THE LONELY SOLDIER: THE PRIVATE WAR OF WOMEN SERVING IN IRAQ (Beacon Press, 2009 and 2010). THE LONELY SOLDIER has won several awards, including the EMMA (Exception Merit in Media Award) from the National Women's Political Caucus and the Ken Book Award, both in 2010.

Benedict has testified twice to Congress on behalf of women soldiers, and lectures at colleges and military academies around the country about gender justice and the military. Her book and play about women soldiers inspired the the February 2011 class action suit against the Pentagon and Secretaries of Defense Rumsfeld and Gates on behalf of military women who have been sexually harassed or assaulted while serving.


One of Benedict’s early articles on women serving in the military during the Iraq War, “The Private War of Women Soldiers,” (Salon, March 2007) was awarded The James Aronson Award for Social Justice Journalism in 2008. In 2010, both her book and her article, "The Scandal of Military Rape” won the EMMA from the National Women’s Political Caucus. For other articles on women soldiers, see Essays.


Her articles and essays have appeared in The New York Times Book Review, The Washington Post, The Nation, The Women's Review of Books, and in many other newspapers and magazines. She is a professor of journalism at Columbia University.

Articles featuring Benedict and her work have appeared on BBC, NPR, Al-Jazeera and many other U.S. and international radio and television stations, and in Reuters, The New York Times, Huffington Post, In These Times, Ms. Magazine, the Italian Vanity Fair, UK Marie Claire, and numerous other print publications in the U.S. and abroad. Benedict and her husband, the writer Stephen O'Connor, are profiled in the book, River of Words, edited by Nina Shengold with photography by Jennifer May (NY State University Press, 2010).


-- “Benedict, an author of both fiction and nonfiction (Sailor’s Wife; Virgin or Vamp), offers distinctive cross-cultural insights as well as a cadre of satiric and fascinating characters, and the result is a story that is both touching and humorous. Highly recommended “ (Library Journal, Nov, 2009)

--"An armchair traveler's delight, Benedict's novel is an amusingly poignant look at the British abroad in the spirit of Evelyn Waugh." (Publishers Weekly, Sept. 2009)

--"Benedict offers an engaging, lush portrait of envy, desire, and the insatiable lure of the exotic and unknown." (Booklist, Oct. 2009)