About Voice of Witness

Voice of Witness is the proud recipient of the
2013 Smithsonian American Ingenuity Award.

To learn about our work, read this profile in the Smithsonian Magazine or click on the video link below.

smn-vow-vid copy

Voice of Witness started life in 2004 as a book imprint of McSweeney’s, founded by author Dave Eggers and physician/human rights scholar Lola Vollen. In 2008 Mimi Lok came on board as Executive Director & Editor, and transitioned the imprint to a 501(c)(3) registered non-profit, with the mission of using oral history to illuminate contemporary human rights crises. The Voice of Witness Book Series depicts human rights injustices through the stories of the men and women who experience them. The Voice of Witness Education Program connects thousands of students and educators each year with these stories and issues through common core-aligned, oral history-based curricula and holistic educator support.

We aim to:

- Empower those most closely affected by contemporary human rights injustices.

- Engender greater awareness, discussion and action in response to these injustices.

- Provide our readers—from high school students to educators, policy makers and advocates—with compelling, reality-based human rights documentation that can be used for teaching, training and advocacy.

Voice of Witness books provide a reality-based understanding of ongoing injustices in the United States and around the world. They have been taught in colleges and schools throughout the world, and have been adopted as key resources by national advocacy groups and their member affiliates, including the ENOUGH project, STAND and the Save Darfur Coalition.







“These books are amazing… beautifully produced, with incredible editing and literary sensibility. Voice of Witness has done a better job than I’ve seen anybody do with having people tell their stories in a way that really engages you.” –Rachel Maddow, MSNBC, Air America

“The series does not so much weave a tapestry from different experiences as braid a rope, a lifeline by which we might haul ourselves into a less ignorant, more actively compassionate future. In them, the specific illuminates the general, destroying preconceptions, stereotypes, and cop-out responses along the way.”
–Richard Vernon, Sojourners Magazine

“In a time when history is told in cheap television re-enactments, if at all, and personal tragedy is gobbled up in rapidly digestible magazine photos and reality shows, this project goes against the grain.”
–Guardian UK


MEDIA/EVENT INQUIRIES: If you are a book reviewer, journalist, or event coordinator who would like to review one of our titles, request an interview, or inquire about a possible event with a VOW editor or contributor, please email Alyson Sinclair at alyson.sinclair@voiceofwitness.org.

NEWSLETTER: Every month we send out a newsletter to keep readers informed of current projects, upcoming events, special offers and ways to get involved. If you would like to receive the VOW monthly newsletter, click here.

DONATE: As a non-profit, we rely on your support to continue our mission of giving voice to those most affected by human rights injustices. Current and forthcoming projects include books on Haiti, Colombia, refugee resettlement, and life in Chicago public housing. If you would like to help us, please considering making a tax-deductible DONATION or VOLUNTEERING.

We are grateful to have many incredible foundations and organizations supporting our work. Click here to learn more about Voice of Witness’ Donors and Partners.



The work of Voice of Witness is made possible in part by the support of the National Endowment for the Arts.

 Click here to learn more about Voice of Witness’ Donors and Partners.