Rose began writing in 1994, as an intern at The Nation in New York City. Later, she became senior editor and writer at COLORS, the bilingual “global magazine about local cultures” published in 80 countries and based first in Rome, then Paris, then Venice. In 1999, she moved to London and began a freelance career, and has since written for the New York Times, Guardian, Independent, London Review of Books and many others. She has been war correspondent in Kosovo for Condé Nast Traveler magazine; reported on an alternative World Cup final in Bhutan between Bhutan and Montserrat (Bhutan won); and attended Saddam Hussein’s birthday party, twice.
Rose’s first book, A Life Removed: Hunting for Refuge in the Modern World, explored the daily reality of being a refugee, focusing on the situation of the millions of people displaced by Liberia’s awful wars. Her second book is The Big Necessity: Adventures in the World of Human Waste/The Unmentionable World of Human Waste and Why it Matters, published by Portobello (UK) and Metropolitan (US). It was judged one of the best books of 2008 by The Economist newspaper, and one of the top ten science books of the same year by the American Library Association. Her third book is Ninety Percent of Everything: Inside Shipping, the Invisible Industry that Puts Clothes on your Back, Gas in your Car and Food on your Plate. The UK title is Deep Sea and Foreign Going: Inside Shipping, the Invisible Industry that brings you Ninety Percent of Everything. In September 2013, Deep Sea was a Radio 4 Book of the Week, and in October, it was awarded the Mountbatten Literature Award by the British Maritime Foundation.
Rose received a congratulatory first-class honours BA in modern languages from the University of Oxford in 1992, and an MA in international politics in 1994 from the University of Pennsylvania. She speaks fluent French and Italian and lives sometimes in Yorkshire, sometimes in a former hotel (three floors; one toilet) in south-west France; and, when she can, on a ship.