As a writer who crafts character-driven narratives that explore history, science and culture, I love collaborating with other creative partners in storytelling. The mediums range from books, articles, and short fiction to film, podcasts, and events. I work with business innovators, agencies, nonprofits, filmmakers, and science partners. Together we find the story and delve in for the deepest impact. The methods usually combine oral history, original research, and reporting.
- Science and Health
- Innovation and Creativity
How I Use Storytelling
I use storytelling to reveal connections between people and their worlds. My book Cork Wars weaves a true story with three real-life characters, gathered from in-depth interviews with family members, personal collections, and declassified government records.
An example at the organizational level is the 2017 book, Transformation of an Icon, about biosciences pioneer ATCC; our work together garnered a gold Stevie Award for Best Business Book. From my longtime practice, I’ve shared storytelling techniques and strategies as a writing instructor and TEDx speaker on Creative Storytelling with teams.
Cork Wars: Intrigue and Industry in World War II, features spies, international intrigue, and a patriotic national WW2 tree-planting campaign with 4-H kids, gardeners, and politicians. And you can order it in hardcopy, e-book or audio! We discussed part of the story on the BackStory podcast. Check out book signings and events»
Writing Instruction & Speaking
- Johns Hopkins University instructor in the Science Writing certificate program for Advanced Academic Programs (AAP). Learn more about course offerings.
- The Writer’s Center workshop leader in Bethesda, MD. Participants explore how people with a scientific background can begin writing for broad audiences and how non-scientists can weave scientific thought into their writing. View the upcoming workshop schedule»
- Documentary film workshop leader. Testimonial from a workshop participant: “Your class helped so much … Because of your class, I was awarded a fellowship to travel to Japan and will be making a small documentary …”
- Participating author with the PEN/Faulkner Writers in Schools program. Check out the program and request a visit on the program’s website.
- Book group discussions in support of my books.
- 2021 Independent Shorts Awards, Bronze for Enemy Alien
- 2019 Independent Publisher Book Award (IPPY), World History (silver) — Cork Wars: Intrigue and Industry in World War II
- 2016 and 2018 writing fellowships with the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts
- 2011 International Reporting Project fellowship for reporting on global health in West Africa
- 2010 Writer’s Guild of America award nominee for best documentary film — Soul of a People: Writing America’s Story
- Amazon Best of the Month pick — Soul of a People book
- Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Best Books of 2009 — Soul of a People book
- 2008 Washington Writers’ Publishing House fiction prize — Success: Stories
- 12th Annual Library of Virginia Literary Awards finalist — Success: Stories
- 2010 CINE Golden Eagle award — Worlds of Sound: The Ballad of Folkways, the story of the little pirate record label with the global reach, premiered on the Smithsonian ChannelHD
- WGA Screenplay Reading Series Award winner — My People, a feature film screenplay co-written with Jim McGrath; also received a staged reading in New York
- Strikers, one-act film screenplay, honored in New England Screenwriting Competition and Woods Hole Film Festival Screenplay Contest
Soul of a People: The WPA Writers’ Project Uncovers Depression America (Wiley) explores America in the 1930s through writers who found their voices in that crisis. The book provided the basis for an award-winning documentary Smithsonian film, Soul of a People: Writing America’s Story. Listen to the NPR interview on All Things Considered.
For the National Geographic illustrated book, The War of 1812 and the Rise of the U.S. Navy, co-author Mark Collins Jenkins and I combed personal collections and manuscripts in the Library of Congress for vivid and forgotten firsthand accounts and artifacts.
For the podcast The People’s Recorder, our team is drawing from archival material and new interviews to craft a new journey through the Federal Writers’ Project story for audiences today.
For innovators and leaders in business, science and philanthropy, I team up to provide writing services for getting your story into a compelling, publishable or producible form. From document research to recording interviews and oral histories, we work with you to shape the themes and highlights of your story, create a roadmap, and carry it to completion. Our strong track record includes a Gold Stevie for Best Business Book. See my profile on The Authors Guild website and get in touch.