Alumna Lauren Wilkinson '13 to Publish Debut Novel 'American Spy'

June 22, 2018

Headshot of Lauren Wilkinson

Photo credit: Niqui Carter


Alumna Lauren Wilkinson '13 is coming out with her debut novel, an espionage thriller about a black female spy who goes undercover in Africa during the Cold War.


Titled American Spy (Random House, February 2019), the novel tackles complex issues such as race, loyalty, espionage and love — and is inspired by true events.


The book follows Marie Mitchell, an intelligence officer with the FBI working in a predominantly male field. Her stalled work routine is electrified when she is recruited to a mysterious task force aimed at undercutting Thomas Sankara, who is known in real life as "Africa's Che Guevara" as the revolutionary president of Burkina Faso, a country in West Africa with a communist ideology.

"In the year that follows, Marie will observe Thomas, seduce him, and ultimately, have a hand in the coup that will bring him down," according to Random House's synopsis. "But doing so will change everything she believes about what it means to be a spy, a lover, and a good American."


Wilkinson has taught writing at Columbia and the Fashion Institute of Technology. She was a 2013 Center for Fiction Emerging Writer’s Fellow, and she has also received fellowships from the MacDowell Colony and the Djerassi Resident Artists Program.