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Tag Archives: Susan Orlean

Got 19 bucks? Take an online storytelling class with Susan Orlean.

Bestselling author and New Yorker writer Susan Orlean breaks down a semester’s worth of storytelling instruction in a two-hour online video course for Skillshare.com. For $19, you get tips and insight on 14 topics, from finding a story idea to collaborating with editors. Plus, a writing assignment: “Write a short piece of creative nonfiction on [...]

It’s Mayborn Week! Recommended reading …

The 2014 Mayborn Literary Nonfiction Conference opens Friday at the University of North Texas. The Saturday and Sunday workshops are full but you can still register for the keynote events. This year’s speakers are authors David Quammen, Lawrence Wright, and Sheri Fink, and other featured speakers include Amy Dockser Marcus, Mimi Swartz, Rose George, and Annie [...]

Annotation Tuesday! Susan Orlean and the American man, age 10

Susan Orlean likes to do something not many other journalists can get away with. In many of her articles Orlean tells us, right there on the page, what she’s thinking about her subjects. But it’s a trick. Orlean, a New Yorker staff writer, bestselling author, and 2004 Nieman Fellow, is often simply using her position [...]

The Music of Narrative: Songs from great literary journalism

A story without sound lies too dead on the page. Imagine “Mrs. Kelly’s Monster,” by Jon Franklin, without the pop … pop … pop of the operating-room sensors. Or Tom Wolfe’s “The Girl of the Year” — the 1964 New York magazine classic on “it” girl Jane Holzer — without the manic rhythms: She is gorgeous [...]

It’s Mayborn Week at Storyboard!

Tomorrow through Friday we’ll feature exclusive outtakes from this month’s Mayborn Literary Nonfiction Conference at the University of North Texas. This year’s correspondents: veteran journalists Lee Hancock and Charlie Lewis, whose bios you’ll find below. (In case you missed it, last year’s conference included talks by Jeanne Marie Laskas and Thomas Lake on sportswriting and [...]

“What’s on your syllabus?”

Every narrative journalist can point to a story or a book, or two, that changed their lives, and that made them want to tell true stories. What story does it for you? Where was your love born? When we asked about influential writing via Twitter, answers came in a flurry. Wright Thompson said North Toward Home, [...]

“Why’s this so good?” No. 31: Susan Orlean maps obsession

Susan Orlean’s “Orchid Fever” first ran in The New Yorker on January 23, 1995. It had a second life as a book, and a third as a movie, in which adapting the latter from the former drives a screenwriter to madness, ruin and redemption. And no wonder: Orlean’s most famous article is, in fact, not [...]

“Why’s this so good?” No. 13: Gene Weingarten peels the Great Zucchini

The Great Zucchini has a secret. And in “The Peekaboo Paradox,” Gene Weingarten exhumes the history that haunts the most popular children’s entertainer in Washington, D.C. The story, which ran in January 2006, is the best thing ever written by the Washington Post’s two-time Pulitzer winner. (Surprisingly enough, Weingarten agrees with this statement.) “A children’s [...]

Life in the cave: highlights from Boston University’s “The Rebirth of Storytelling” conference

What does it take to make a great story? Boston University’s “The Power of Narrative” conference, held on campus April 29-30, aimed to offer some insights. The event included the kind of writing techniques and “show don’t tell” advice you’d expect (and hope for) at such a gathering. But beyond hearing about the mechanics of narrative [...]