I have an enduring image of Anthony Shadid speaking at the Brattle Theatre in September of 2005. He was one of a panel of authors who had written about the Iraq war — this was soon after he won his first Pulitzer Prize, and his second book, Night Draws Near, had just been published.
As usual, he spoke eloquently and conveyed the reality of the situation with crystal clarity. But his little daughter Laila was in the audience beaming with pride, and when the panel was over Anthony made a beeline to her and hugged her, and you could see that she was everything to him.
That was typical. In all of his reporting from that war and since, Anthony never lost sight of the humanity that lay behind his stories; it's no surprise that he often wrote about children and captured their voices. He cared about people and understood the complicated nature of their lives — his own life was complicated — and he wanted his readers to understand that real women, men, and children populate the events we tend to think about only in the abstract.
People cared about Anthony because he cared about them. He was a true friend; I'll miss him terribly.
Robert Shepard is a literary agent in California who represented Anthony Shadid.