Nonfiction Writing in the World: Our Sources of Inspiration and Nonfiction Beyond Brown

Brown's Nonfiction Writing Program builds upon the inspiration of many illustrious nonfiction-writing alumni, including:

Edward Ball, the author of Slaves in the Family, a winner of the 1998 National Book Award. Born in Savannah, Georgia, after Brown he was a columnist for The Village Voice. He has also written Peninsula of Lies: A True Story of Mysterious Birth and Taboo Love and The Sweet Hell Inside: The Rise of an Elite Black Family in the Segregated South

Andrew Blauner, who runs Blauner Books Literary Agency, represents writers such as Lee Gutkind, A.M. Rosenthal, Floyd Skloot, Mike Stanton, Erin Cressida Wilson, and Andrew Zimbalist. He is the editor of the anthology COACH: 25 Writers Reflect on People Who Made a Difference; Introduction by Bill Bradley.

Susan Cheever '63, most recently the author of My Name is Bill (Creation of Alcoholics Anonymous). She is the bestselling author five novels and the memoirs Note Found in a BottleTreetopsHome Before Dark, and As Good As I Could Be: A Memoir of Raising Wonderful Children in Difficult Times. Her work has been nominated for the National Book Critics Circle Award and won the Boston Globe Winship Medal. She is a Guggenheim Fellow, a member of the Corporation of Yaddo, and a member of the Author's Guild Council. She writes a weekly column for Newsday and teaches in the Bennington College M.F.A. program. She lives in New York City with her family.

Susan J. Gilman ‘86 Career: Has written three nonfiction books, Undress Me in the Temple of HeavenHypocrite in a Pouffy White Dress, and Kiss My Tiara, contributed to numerous anthologies, worked as journalist, and written for New York TimesLos Angeles TimesMs., Real SimpleWashington City PaperUs magazine among others. Won New York Press Association Award for features written on assignment in Poland. Areas of specialty: politics, women’s issues, cultural criticism, arts, satire. Media: Has appeared “The Today Show”; ABC World News, NBC affiliates in Portland, OR and New Haven; “Connie Martinson Talks Books,” “The Iyanla Show,” “Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus”; dozens of radio shows across U.S., including WNYC's “Leonard Lopate Show,” WGN in Chicago, Pacifica Radio in Berkeley, the Buzz in Portland, the Kim Wilde Show; commentary for World News Radio in Washington, D.C. Fiction writing: Short stories published in Ploughshares, Story, Beloit Fiction Journal, Greensboro Review, Virginia Quarterly Review, which awarded her its 1999 Literary Award for short fiction. Worked as Washington D.C. speechwriter and as staff writer for Member of U.S. Congress. Taught writing and literature at University of Michigan and Eastern Michigan University.

Tony Horwitz is the author of Blue Latitudes: Boldly Going Where Captain Cook has Gone BeforeConfederates in the Attic: Dispatches from the Unfinished Civil WarBaghdad Without a Map: And Other Misadventures in ArabiaOne for the Road: An Outback Adventure; and The Devil May Care: Fifty Intrepid Americans and Their Quest for the Unknown. He has worked as a war correspondent for the Wall Street Journal and as a staff writer for The New Yorker and won a Pulitzer Prize for journalism.

A.J.Jacobs ‘89 Jacobs is the editor at large at Esquire magazine and author of two New York Times bestsellers: The Know-It-All (2004); The Year of Living Biblically (2007) – both critically acclaimed. In 2009, The Guinea Pig Diaries: My Life as an Experiment was published (including “My Outsourced Life,” Jacobs’ quest to delegate every task in his life to India; life-changing quests featuring George Washington’s rules of life, marital harmony, marital disharmony, multitasking and nudity (not in that order). In addition to his books, Jacobs has written for The New York Times, Entertainment Weekly, New York Magazine and Dental Economics magazine. He has appeared on Oprah, The Today Show, Good Morning America and Late Night with Conan O’Brien (though Conan did decline Jacobs’ offer to bring the remnants of his shaved beard --from The Year of Living Biblically -- in a plastic bag). He is a periodic commentator on NPR’s Weekend Edition Saturday, where he discusses important facts, such as the fact that opossums have 13 nipples. He's now working on a book called The Healthiest Human Being in the World. It continues Jacobs’ experiential journalism series as he tries to perfect his physical condition while simultaneously dissecting the meaning of the word “healthiest.”

Alec Klein ‘90 Alec Klein, who teaches at Medill, is an award-winning investigative business journalist and bestselling author. For two decades, Klein worked as a newspaper reporter, most recently as an investigative business reporter at The Washington Post. He previously worked at The Wall Street JournalThe Baltimore Sun and The Virginian-Pilot. His investigations have led to significant reforms, congressional hearings, federal law, criminal convictions and more than half a billion dollars in government fines. He now writes a regular online column on investigative business reporting for the Donald W. Reynolds National Center for Business Journalism, conducts workshops on investigative business reporting at newspapers and other organizations throughout the country and writes for various publications. Klein’s first book of nonfiction, Stealing Time: Steve Case, Jerry Levin, and the Collapse of AOL Time Warner, was an acclaimed national bestseller published by Simon & Schuster that was translated into Japanese and Chinese and excerpted in Great Britain. His second book of nonfiction, A Class Apart: Prodigies, Pressure, and Passion Inside One of America’s Best High Schools, was published by Simon & Schuster and nominated for the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize.

Caroline Knapp was a journalist at the Providence Journal and the Boston Globe before her death. She was the author of Appetites: Why Women WantAlice K.'s Guide to Life: One Woman's Quest for Survival, Sanity, and the Perfect New Shoes;Drinking: A Love StoryThe Merry Recluse: A Life in EssaysPack of Two: The Intricate Bond Between People and Dogs; and Apetitos.

David Lipsky ‘87 Most known as a fiction writer (Three Thousand Dollars; The Art Fair), Lipsky's non-fiction book Absolutely American (2003) was written after the author spent four years living at West Point. The book's genesis was a piece Lipsky wrote for Rolling Stone—the longest article published in that magazine since Hunter S. Thompson's Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. As Newsweek noted, composition of the book required "14,000 pages of interview transcripts, 60 notebooks and four pairs of boots"[18]; the magazine called the book "addictive," and Lev Grossman in Time wrote that it was "fascinating, funny, and tremendously well-written. Take a good look: this is the face America turns to most of the world, and until now it's one that most of us have never seen."[19] In the New York Times Book Review, David Brooks called the book "wonderfully told," praising it as both "a superb description of modern military culture, and one of the most gripping accounts of university life I have read."[20] The work was a New York Times bestseller.

Thomas Mallon, '73, is a novelist as well as author of nonfiction essays, articles, and books - Mrs Paine's Garage: And the Murder of John F. KennedyIn Fact: Essays on Writers and WritingRockets and RodeosStolen Words: Forays Into the Origins and Ravages of Plagiarism; and, A Book of One's Own: People and their Diaries. His essays and reviews have appeared in GQ, Harper'sThe New YorkerThe American ScholarThe Yale ReviewArchitectural DigestThe New York Times Book Review, and The Washington Post Book World. He received a Rockefeller Fellowship and the Ingram Merrill Award for outstanding work as a writer; his essay Rodeo was included in The Best American Sportswriting 1992. After Brown, Mallon earned a PhD from Harvard. He was a visiting scholar at St. Edmund's College, Cambridge University and a professor at Vassar College for several years before becoming Literary Editor for Gentleman's Quarterly.

David L. Marcus, author of WHAT IT TAKES TO PULL ME THROUGH: Why Teenagers Get in Trouble and How Four of Them Got Out. Former staff writer, U.S. News & World Report, he has also worked at the Boston Globe, Miami Herald, and Dallas Morning News, where he shared a Pulitzer Prize for a series of articles on violence against women around the world. He was a finalist for another Pulitzer and was a Neiman Fellow at Harvard.

Elizabeth Mitchell is the author of Three Strides Before the Wire: The Dark and Beautiful World of Horse Racing. She is also the author of W: Revenge of the Bush Dynasty, and is currently writing a novel on the clash of faiths during the early years of Christianity.

Rick Moody, '83, acclaimed for his literary novels and short stories, has most recently written The Black Veil, a memoir of his alcoholism and the legacy of his ancestor, the subject of Hawthorne's story, "The Minister's Black Veil." Moody's fiction includesDemonologyPurple AmericaThe Ring of Brightest Angels Around HeavenThe Ice Storm, and Garden State. His fiction and essays have been published in the New YorkerEsquireThe Paris ReviewHarper'sGrand StreetDetails, and the New York Times. He has won a Pushcart Press Editors' Book Award, an Addison Metcalf Award, an Aga Khan Prize, and a Guggenheim Fellowship.

Pamela Paul is the author of The Starter Marriage and the Future of Matrimony, a pioneering study of first marriages lasting five years or less and ending without children, and of the changing face of matrimony in America. A journalist, she is currently a Senior Editor at American Demographics magazine, where she reports on social, political, and media trends. She is also a frequent New York correspondent for The Economist. In addition, her work has appeared in magazines such as ElleRedbook, and Time Out New York.

Nathaniel Philbrick, writer and sailor on Nantucket, has earned national acclaim for his historical narrative, In the Heart of the Sea. He also wrote Sea of Glory: America's Voyage of Discovery, the U.S. Exploring Expedition, 1838-1842Away Off Shore: Nantucket Island and Its People, 1602-1890, and Abram's Eyes: The Native American Legend of Nantucket Island. He has written an introduction to a new edition of Joseph Hart's Miriam Coffin, or The Whale Fisherman, a Nantucket novel (first published in 1834) that Melville relied upon for information about the island when writing Moby-Dick. Philbrick, a champion sailboat racer, has also written extensively about sailing, including The Passionate Sailor (1987) and Second Wind: A Sunfish Sailor's Odyssey. He was editor in chief of Yachting: A Parody (1984). In his role as director of the Egan Institute of Maritime Studies, Philbrick, who is also a research fellow at the Nantucket Historical Association, gives frequent talks about Nantucket and sailing. He has appeared on Today, A&E's Biography series, and National Public Radio and served as a consultant for the movie Moby-Dick, shown on the USA Network. After Brown, he received a master of arts in American literature from Duke.

Sarah Saffian, author of Ithaka: A Daughter's Memoir of Being Found - in this case by her biological parents -- is a senior editor at Entertainment Weekly, and has served as contributing editor for Rosie magazine and senior writer for Us Weekly and the New York Daily News. She has also written nonfiction for numerous publications, including the New York Times, the Village Voice, CosmopolitanHarper's Bazaar, and Redbook. She has taught online through Harvard Law School and Gotham Writers' Workshop. After Brown, Sarah earned an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Columbia University.

Scott Russell Sanders, besides writing novels, short stories, and books for children, has published works of creative nonfiction --The Paradise of BombsHunting for HopeWriting from the CenterStaying PutSecrets of the UniverseIn Limestone Country, The Country of Language, and The Force of Spirit. His writing appears regularly in the Georgia Review, OrionAudubon, and numerous anthologies. He has been awarded fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Lilly Endowment. Sanders' work has also received the Associated Writing Programs Award in Creative Nonfiction, the Kenyon Review Award for Literary Excellence, the Great Lakes Book Award, and the Ohioana Book Award. For his work in nonfiction, Sanders received a Lannan Literary Award in 1995. He has received numerous teaching awards. Sanders has recently been the subject of interviews in The Fourth GenreThe Kenyon ReviewThe Sun, and The Chronicle of Higher Education. For an essay that appeared in Audubon, where he is a contributing editor, he won the John Burroughs Natural History Essay Award for 2000. His essay "The Force of Spirit" appeared in The Best American Essays 2000, the fourth time his work has appeared in this annual collection of outstanding nonfiction.

David Shenk, '88, is a bestselling author of five nonfiction books including The Immortal Game ("superb" -- Wall Street Journal), The Forgetting ("remarkable" -- Los Angeles Times), and Data Smog ("indispensable" -- New York Times). Shenk has also written about the age of surveillance for National Geographic, penned cover stories for The New Republic and The Nation, created the popular "Survivalist" series for Slate, and contributed to The New York Times, Gourmet, The New Yorker, Harper's, Spy, Wired, The American Scholar, NPR and PBS. His writing appears in numerous collections and has been translated into twenty languages. He has won First Prize in the British Medical Association's Popular Medical Book Awards, served as a Freedom Forum fellow at Columbia University, and advised the President's Council on Bioethics.

David Shields' new book, The Thing About Life Is That One Day You'll Be Dead, is forthcoming from Knopf in February 2008. Another book, Reality Hunger: A Manifesto, is forthcoming from Knopf in 2009. He is the author of eight previous books, including Black Planet (a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award), Remote (winner of the PEN/Revson Award), and Dead Languages (winner of the PEN Syndicated Fiction Award). His essays and stories have appeared in the New York Times Magazine, Harper's, Yale Review, Village Voice, Utne Reader, Salon, Slate, McSweeney's, and Believer. He is the chairman of this year's National Book Awards nonfiction panel and has received a Guggenheim fellowship, two NEA fellowships, an Ingram Merrill Foundation award, and a New York Foundation for the Arts fellowship.

Seth Stevenson is a humorist who writes for Slate Magazine online, also for Fortune and New York magazine.

Wendy Strothman, '72 has published quality nonfiction for nearly thirty years. As director of Beacon Press in Boston she produced two characteristically influential bestsellers -- Marian Wright Edelman's The Measure of Our Success and Cornel West's Race Matters. Under her tenure, revenues tripled, and in 1993 her fellow publishers named her "Woman of the Year" for her courage in speaking out during several First Amendment controversies. In 1995 Strothman joined Houghton Mifflin as executive vice president in charge of the reference and trade divisions. There again she revived an institution with a noble history. "There's been a lot of cynicism in the publishing community," she told BAM in 2000, "and low morale in the industry-first because of the chains, then Amazon, and then this looming threat of e-books. What people tend to forget is that quality still sells." Now, having resigned from Houghton Mifflin Strothman is expanding the Boston literary agency she established in the fall of 2003. "It may not be every publisher's dream. But after being kicked upstairs as far as I was, at some point you want to be back close to the books again," said Strothman. The Strothman Agency specializes in narrative nonfiction-memoir, history, science and nature-and selected fiction. Strothman has also helped form a TV production company, Prologue Productions, together with author James Carroll and agent Don Cutler. The studio will produce Carroll's bestselling Constantine's Sword, which Strothman edited, as a TV series, with Orin Jacoby, who has done work for PBS and the BBC.

Since its inception in 1997, Brown's Nonfiction Writing Program has sent its graduates to internships, jobs, and further study:

TV: ABC, CBS, and NBC in Providence, NYC, and Minnesota; MSNBC in NYC; National Geographic Television

Radio: NPR, WBRU, WRNI, Oregon and Wyoming Public Radio

Newspapers: The Los Angeles Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Oregonian, Providence JournalBoston GlobeMiami HeraldNew Orleans Times Picayune, The New York Observer, New York TimesWashington PostThe Dallas Morning NewsThe Sacramento BeeSan Francisco ChronicleArizona Star, The Arizona Republic, Minneapolis Star TribuneTampa Tribune, St. Petersburg Times, Newport Daily News, The Buffalo News, AP wire service, the Dow Jones energy wire service; Weeklies: Atlanta, GA and Millerton, NY, the Providence Phoenix, The Chronicle of Higher Education, The Chronicle of Philanthropy

Magazines: Vogue, The New Republic, Esquire, The Paris ReviewGlamour Magazine, National Geographic, Mother JonesPopular ScienceSelfNew YorkerDiscover MagazineThe Smithsonian MagazineScience MagazineAmerican Prospect MagazineSpin MagazineBillboard MagazineBrown Alumni MonthlyGlimpse Magazine, McSweeney's, The NationHouse and Garden MagazineOutside MagazineU.S. News & World ReportRolling Stone, Agni

Webzines: The Huffington Post; Glimpse Magazine; Slate.com; Salon.com6Billion, a webzine of multi-discipline creative nonfiction

Public Relations in a hospital, historical society, nongovernmental organizations and nonprofits

Grants: Luce Foundation grants for young journalists; Fulbrights for work with writers and writing

Graduate School: Film school, law school, Columbia School of Journalism, MFA programs in Creative Nonfiction at Columbia, Iowa, Montana, Emerson

Teaching: undergraduate and graduate students: High school English and writing; College literature and writing

Published: in literary journals such as Seneca Review, Gulf Coast, Creative Nonfiction MagazineBooks: Laura Rothenburg: My So-Called Lungs; Kevin Roose: The Unlikely Disciple: A Sinner's Semester at America's Holiest University; Lindsay Harrison: Missing