top of page
Elizabeth Farnsworth, author of Last Light, head shot 2a 200px.jpeg

Elizabeth Farnsworth has written for publications ranging from Foreign Policy to the literary journal, Brick.

Her memoir, A Train Through Time: A Life, Real and Imagined, was published by Counterpoint Press in 2017.


Farnsworth’s documentary, The Judge and the General, co-produced with Patricio Lanfranco, premiered at the 2008 San Francisco Film Festival and aired on POV (PBS) and other networks around the world. As a print reporter and for television, she has covered crises in Iraq, Cambodia, Vietnam, Botswana, Chile, Peru, Haiti, Iraq, Iran, and Israel.

Farnsworth grew up in Topeka, Kansas where her ancestors were pioneers. She graduated magna cum laude from Middlebury College.  She earned an M.A. in Latin American History from Stanford University, and  received an honorary doctorate degree from Washburn University (2021), and Colby College (2002).


She has received three Emmy nominations and the Alfred I. DuPont-Columbia Award, often considered the broadcast equivalent of the Pulitzer, which is also administered by Columbia University.


Farnsworth serves on the advisory board of the Human Rights Center, UC Berkeley School of Law, and the advisory committee of the World Affairs Council of Northern California. She lives in Berkeley, California, with her husband, retired attorney Charles E. Farnsworth. They have two children and six grandchildren.

Elizabeth Farnsworth

Documentary filmmaker & former chief correspondent of PBS News Hour


Elizabeth Farnsworth, author of Last Light, frt-bk book cover 1a 300px.PNG

“In the summer of 1943, a young woman is hired to interpret for German prisoners of war at a U.S. Army Hospital in Kansas. Harboring dark secrets from her childhood, Isabelle Graham will be forced into a struggle that saves her own life as well as many others in the distant, ongoing war. Farnsworth has written in Last Light a thrilling and moving account of a young woman's courage and determination in the face of seemingly insuperable odds.”

John Balaban, National Book Awards poetry finalist, 1997 and 1975, and author of, among other non-fiction works, Remembering Heaven’s Face: A Story of Rescue in Wartime Vietnam.

“In an intriguing tale that moves seamlessly between the Kansas prairie and the cafés of Vienna, Elizabeth Farnsworth asks where honor ends and betrayal begins, or maybe it’s the other way around. War stories are often painted in the bold colors of military and political giants and knaves, but the real history of war is wrapped around the spirits and emotions, often in conflict with each other, of people whose tales get lost in time. Thanks to Elizabeth Farnsworth for making these realities so vivid.”

Michael D. Mosettig, Foreign Affairs and Defense Senior Producer and Editor of The PBS NewsHour from 1985 to 2012, has written for, among other publications, The Economist, The New Republic, and the Online NewsHour.

“This extraordinary short novel, Last Light, follows a young woman, Isabelle Graham, from Vienna to Topeka to Nuremberg, telling a World War II story unlike any others. It is at once a coming-of-age tale, a morality tale, and a dark fairy tale inspired by the Brothers Grimm’s "The Juniper Tree." Compact and complex, Elizabeth Farnsworth’s story evokes beautifully the innocence of a Kansas childhood, a woman’s sexual and intellectual awakening, and the physical and psychic wounds of war with its inherent moral ambiguities. The central question—When is killing justified?—haunts until the end.”

Marion Abbott, Former co-owner of Mrs. Dalloway’s Bookstore, Berkeley, California.

bottom of page