John Phillips Avlon (born 1973) is the author of Independent Nation: How Centrists Can Change American Politics and Wingnuts: How the Lunatic Fringe is Hijacking America. He was a columnist and associate editor for The New York Sun and worked as chief speechwriter for former New York mayor Rudolph Giuliani. He was Director of Speechwriting and Deputy Policy Director for Giuliani's 2008 presidential campaign. He is a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute. He is senior political columnist at TheDailyBeast.com.
Avlon is the son of Dianne P. and John J. Avlon of South Carolina. Avlon was the youngest and longest-serving speechwriter in the Giuliani Administration as well as Deputy Communications Director. His work included helping prepare the Mayor's State of the City Addresses for 1999 through 2001. After the attacks of September 11th, he and his team were responsible for writing the eulogies for all New York City Firefighters, New York City Police Officers, Port Authority Police Officers and other emergency workers killed in the destruction of the World Trade Center. Additionally, he served on the staff of the Bilingual Education Reform Task Force, the City Hall Park Restoration Committee, and the 2001 Charter Revision Commission, which established the Office of Emergency Management as a permanent city agency.
Independent Nation has been called, "the definitive history of 'Centrism' in America, and probably the best-selling radical centrist book to date." Avlon has lectured at Yale University, NYU, the Citadel, the Kennedy School of Government, and the State Department’s visiting journalist program. He is an advisory board member of the Citizens Union of New York, Bronx Academy of Letters and the Theodore Roosevelt Association.
He has appeared on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, CNN, MSNBC, Fox News, PBS, and C-Span. He hosts the "Wingnut of the Week" segment on CNN. Syndicated columnist Kathleen Parker wrote that "Americans who are fed up with the Ann Coulter/Michael Moore school of debate, and are looking for someone to articulate a common sense middle path, may have found their voice in John Avlon." His essay on the attacks of September 11, The Resilient City was selected to conclude the anthology Empire City: New York Through the Centuries and won acclaim from Fred Siegel, the author of The Future Once Happened Here, as "the single best essay written in the wake of 9/11."