Justine Hardy is a British journalist, author, and conflict trauma therapist specializing in South Asia, and the Kashmir region in particular. She is the author of six books, ranging from journeys through Tibet, Hindi film, her time working at an Indian newspaper, the realities of orthodox Islam, and war. In 2005, Hardy published “The Wonder House,” a novel that explores the conflict in Kashmir based on her own experience reporting on the frontline and time spent both in militant training camps and amongst religious extremists. “The Valley of Mist,” published in 2009, is a non-fiction study of one family’s experience of living in Kashmir during the insurgency. It focuses on the themes of cultural destruction, the rise of religious fundamentalism, and the intolerance and oppression of the Pandit (Hindu) population of Kashmir. It was the runner-up for the Dayton Peace Prize in 2010. Her books have been translated into nine languages, including Hindi and Serbian, and have been short-listed for the Thomas Cook/Daily Telegraph Travel Book Award and the Author’s Club Best First Novel. Three of her books have been serialized on BBC Radio 4.
Hardy has contributed to the BBC, the Financial Times, The Times, Traveler, and Vanity Fair. As a writer and journalist, Justine has reported on South Asia for more than 25 years. Her journalism ranges from reports on her travels in Europe, India, the United States, and the Caribbean, to book reviews and social affairs reporting. Among other topics, she has written articles on the search for peace and the mental health crisis in Kashmir, and on female activists within Islam.
In addition to her writing, Hardy is involved in several aid projects. In October 2005, following an earthquake in Kashmir, she worked with the Kashmir Welfare Trust, a local NGO responding to the devastation of the earthquake. Directly after the earthquake, basic shelters were built, blankets collected, and food and medical supplies were brought to the more remote areas of Kashmir Valley. Long-term projects were then instituted, such as home reconstruction and the establishment of a school and an orphanage for children who had lost their families in the earthquake. As a result of this work Hardy went on to set up Healing Kashmir in 2008, a mental health program that combines integrated mental health treatment and a suicide helpline. Hardy is based in Kashmir, heading this project. Hardy is also director of another Indian NGO, the Development Research and Action Group, which establishes schools in the slums of Delhi, an area that has often been overlooked by more prominent international organizations.
Hardy is currently a residential INSPIRE fellow at Tufts University’s Institute of Global Leadership.