Neil MacFarquhar

Neil MacFarquhar
Born c. 1960
Occupation journalist, novelist
Notable credit(s) The New York Times; The Sand Café (novel); The Media Relations Department of Hizbollah Wishes You a Happy Birthday (journal)

Neil Graham MacFarquhar is an American writer who is currently writing for The New York Times in Moscow.[1]

From June 2008 to the summer of 2013, MacFarquhar was the Times 's United Nations bureau chief. From November 2006 to May 2008, he was a national correspondent for the paper, based in San Francisco. He was the Middle East correspondent, based in Cairo, from 2001 until 2006.[2]

MacFarquhar's second book, The Media Relations Department of Hizbollah Wishes You a Happy Birthday: Unexpected Encounters in the Changing Middle East, is a journal of MacFarquhar's experiences in the region, starting with his childhood in Col. Gaddafi's Libya, and an assessment of the prospects for political and social change. The book combines aspects of everyday life with the stories of individual men and women working for a freer Middle East.

He is also author of The Sand Cafe, a satirical novel about foreign correspondents mired in a Saudi hotel awaiting the start of the Gulf war and trying to either undermine or seduce each other as the war refuses to get underway. It was partly written during his recuperation from an accident where a runaway bus knocked MacFarquhar off his bicycle on Fifth Avenue in New York City.

MacFarquhar went to elementary school in Libya and is a fluent Arabic speaker. He graduated from Deerfield Academy and then Stanford University in 1982.[3]


"MacFarquhar grew up in the 1960s in Brega, a fenced-off expatriate oil compound in Libya. After studying international relations at Stanford University, he returned to the Middle East, became fluent in Arabic, and covered the region for The Associated Press and then as the New York Times bureau chief in Cairo. He has been the Times United Nations bureau chief since 2008."[4]


  1. Dulcie Lembach, "The Times Picks a UN Bureau Chief as Syria Arms Destruction Begins," Pass Blue, 06 October 2013 Accessed 21 July 2014
  2. Advertising supplement (unnamed, but part of the "These times demand the Times" advertising campaign, as noted on the back page of the supplement), in which the New York Times advertises itself in the October 31, 2006 edition of the newspaper, page ZK11 of the 16-page supplement
  3. Post, Dan. "Five Questions for Neil MacFarquhar: Droll Jab at Journalists' Exploits Echoes Reality." The San Francisco Chronicle, 25 June 2006.
  4. Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies
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