Slate Fare

Meet Slate’s New Dear Prudence

Jenée Desmond-Harris takes over from Danny M. Lavery.

Photo of Jenée Desmond-Harris
Jenée Desmond-Harris. Photo illustration by Slate. Photo courtesy of Jenée Desmond-Harris.

Jenée Desmond-Harris starts today as Slate’s Dear Prudence columnist. In her first column, she gives advice to a person whose ailing mother keeps accusing her caregiver of theft and a woman mad that her husband wanted to move to the woods and live like a caveman.

Desmond-Harris joins Slate from the New York Times, where she was a senior staff editor in the Opinion section. She previously wrote for and the Root and was a John S. Knight Fellow at Stanford. She is a graduate of Howard University and Harvard Law School and lives in the Bay Area.


“I’m thrilled to be Slate’s next Prudie and still can’t believe I get to tell people what to do for a living,” Desmond-Harris said. “I’m an advice addict and have been a huge fan of Dear Prudence for years so I know I have big shoes to fill. And while I know some people are reading the column for entertainment, I do feel a responsibility to the letter writers asking questions and anyone else who comes across my responses and sees parallels to their own life. So I’m going to work hard to be fair, firm, and compassionate—and hopefully have a little bit of fun.”


She takes the reins from Danny M. Lavery, who held the role for five years. Lavery is continuing to host a podcast for Slate, a part-advice, part-interview show called Big Mood, Little Mood.

Desmond-Harris is the fifth Dear Prudence since the column launched in 1997. The economist Herbert Stein started the column, then Ann Landers’ daughter Margo Howard took over for several years. Emily Yoffe held the position for nearly a decade before Lavery’s run as Prudie.

The column now publishes six times a week, including two articles exclusively for Slate Plus members. (Join Slate Plus and never miss a question.)

To get each of Desmond-Harris’ columns direct to your inbox, sign up for the Dear Prudence newsletter.