Online Workshop

BIO Announces Zoom Event with Gerald Howard

Update: The recording of this event is available here

The next session in our online workshop series “How to Read Biographies Like a Writer” has been scheduled for March 30 (7 p.m. Eastern/6 p.m. Central). The hourlong conversation will feature an esteemed publishing veteran, Gerald Howard, and his intriguing selection: the late Patricia Bosworth’s Montgomery Clift, which he describes as “the best celebrity biography (so-called) of the past fifty years” and a model for all “biographers who have to deal with sad and scandalous aspects of public figures, especially in the arts.” Those who’d like to read the book ahead of time can readily find copies available.

Gerald Howard is a recently retired book editor who worked with numerous biographers over the course of his career. He had the pleasure of reissuing Bosworth’s biography of Diane Arbus in the mid-nineties when he worked at Norton. His essays and reviews have appeared in The American Scholar, the New York Times Book Review, n+1, Bookforum, Slate, the Los Angeles Review of Books, and other publications. He is currently writing a biography of the influential editor and critic Malcolm Cowley.

Howard will be interviewed by Steve Paul, BIO board member and member of the online workshop committee.

Please join us for what will prove to be a lively and enlightening discussion on the craft and creation of biography.

Date: Wednesday, March 30, 7 p.m. Eastern/ 6 p.m. Central

The event will also be recorded and available for later viewing.

REGISTER HERE

 

 

 

BIO Announces Zoom Event with Anne Zimmerman

The recording of this event is available here

Anne Zimmerman

BIO’s “Reading Biography Like a Writer” series continues with its third Zoom event, featuring Anne Zimmerman on Thursday, January 27, at 7 p.m. (Eastern Time). In conversation with Anne Boyd Rioux, Anne Zimmerman will discuss what biographers can learn about the craft from the recently published Come Fly the World: The Jet-Age Story of the Women of Pan Am (HMH 2021). Julia Cooke’s Come Fly the World tells the story of several “ordinary women” who embraced the liberation of a jet-set life by working as stewardesses for the iconic Pan Am Airlines. Set against the backdrop of the Vietnam War, the book is a biography writer’s lesson in how to write about subjects who lack extensive archives. This conversation will help first-time biographers, those working on family history projects, and anyone exploring how big historical moments (the Vietnam War, the feminist movement) touch writing about the lived experiences. Reading the book ahead of time is not necessary, but if you can read at least part of it, that would surely enrich your experience. The event will also be recorded and available for later viewing.

REGISTER HERE

Anne Zimmerman’s first book, An Extravagant Hunger: The Passionate Years of M.F.K. Fisher (Counterpoint), is the product of extensive research at Harvard’s Schlesinger Library. She edited two subsequent collections of the noted food writer’s work: Love In A Dish and Other Culinary Delights and M.F.K. Fisher: Musings on Wine & Other Libations. She lives in Portland, Oregon and has taught for many years in Stanford University’s Continuing Studies Program, including a course on biography writing. She is finishing a memoir.

Anne Boyd Rioux is a member of BIO’s Board of Directors, a BIO coach, and the author of Meg, Jo, Beth, Amy: The Story of Little Women and Why It Still Matters (Norton), chosen as one of the best books of 2018 by the Daily Mail and Library Journal. Her biography Constance Fenimore Woolson: Portrait of a Lady Novelist (Norton) was chosen as one of the ten best books of 2016 by the Chicago Tribune. She is the recipient of four National Endowment for the Humanities awards, two for public scholarship. You can find her online at https://anneboydrioux.com/.

 

 

BIO Announces Zoom Event with Debby Applegate

Update: The recording of this event is available here.

Debby Applegate

BIO’s “Reading Biography Like a Writer” series continues with its second Zoom event, featuring Debby Applegate on Tuesday, December 7, at 7 p.m. (Eastern Time). In conversation with Holly Van Leuven, Applegate will discuss what biographers can learn about the craft from Nancy Milford’s groundbreaking feminist biography Zelda: A Biography (Harper & Row, 1970). The book explores the tumultuous relationship between Zelda Sayre Fitzgerald, a great beauty and gifted writer, and her more famous husband, F. Scott Fitzgerald.

Reading the book ahead of time will not be necessary for gaining insights about voice, structure, use of sources, and more. But if you can read at least part of it, that would surely enrich your experience. The event will also be recorded and available for later viewing.

REGISTER HERE

Debby Applegate is a former president of BIO and the author of the newly released Madam: The Biography of Polly Adler, Icon of the Jazz Age (Doubleday), as well as The Most Famous Man in America: The Biography of Henry Ward Beecher (Doubleday, 2006), for which she won the 2007 Pulitzer Prize for Biography or Autobiography. She is the chair of the BIO Advisory Council.

Holly Van Leuven is the author of Ray Bolger: More than a Scarecrow (Oxford University Press, 2019) and the inaugural winner of BIO’s Hazel Rowley Prize (2014). She is the editor of The Biographer’s Craft.

BIO Presents its 2021 Editorial Excellence Award to Bob Bender of Simon & Schuster

Update: The recording of this event is available here.

Bob Bender will receive BIO’s 2021 Editorial Excellence Award, presented annually to an outstanding editor of biography, on Thursday, November 18 from 7 p.m to 8 p.m. Eastern, at an online event featuring several of his authors: Marie Arana, David W. Blight, Scott Eyman, and Jeff Guinn.

Registration for the Zoom event is available at this link.

Bender is Vice President and Executive Editor of Simon & Schuster, where he has worked since 1981. He acquires a wide range of nonfiction, including biography and autobiography, history, current events, popular science, popular culture (primarily film and music), and narrative nonfiction with a distinctive voice. Authors that he has published also include Muhammad Ali, Marie Arana, Miles Davis, Jonathan Eig, David Hackett Fischer, Linda Greenhouse, John Kerry, Naomi Klein, Pauline Maier, David McCullough, Gilda Radner, James Shapiro, and Jean Edward Smith.

Kai Bird, chair of BIO’s Award Committee, with Tim Duggan, Ruth Franklin, Peniel Joseph, Candice Millard, and Will Swift, praised Bender for his “cultivation and support for so many illustrious biographers over many decades.”

Marie Arana was born in Lima, Peru. She is the author of Silver, Sword, and Stone: Three Crucibles in the Latin American Story, chosen by the American Library Association as the top nonfiction book of the year; Bolivar: American Liberator, winner of the Los Angeles Times Prize for Biography; the memoir American Chica, a finalist for the National Book Award; two novels, Cellophane and Lima Nights; and The Writing Life, a collection from her well-known column for The Washington Post, where she was editor-in-chief of Book World. She was the inaugural Literary Director of the Library of Congress, founder of the Literary Initiatives division of that library, and one of the principal architects of the National Book Festival. In 2020, she received an award for her lifetime literary work from the American Academy of Arts & Letters. A writer-at-large for The Washington Post, she divides her time between Washington, D.C., and Lima, Peru.

David W. Blight is Sterling Professor of History and director of the Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance, and Abolition at Yale University. He is the author or editor of a dozen books, including Frederick Douglass: Prophet of Freedom, which won BIO’s Plutarch Award; American Oracle: The Civil War in the Civil Rights Era; Race and Reunion: The Civil War in American Memory; and annotated editions of Douglass’s first two autobiographies. He has worked on Douglass much of his professional life and been awarded the Pulitzer Prize, the Bancroft Prize, the Abraham Lincoln Prize, and the Frederick Douglass Prize, among others.

Scott Eyman was the literary critic at The Palm Beach Post and is the author or coauthor of 15 books, including the bestselling biography John Wayne: The Life and Legend; Hank and Jim: The Fifty-Year Friendship of Henry Fonda and James Stewart; Empire of Dreams: The Epic Life of Cecil B. DeMille; Lion of Hollywood: The Life and Legend of Louis B. Mayer; Print the Legend: The Life and Times of John Ford; and, with the actor Robert Wagner, the bestsellers Pieces of My Heart and You Must Remember This. Eyman also writes book reviews for The Wall Street Journal, and has written for The New York Times, The Washington Post, and the Chicago Tribune. He and his wife, Lynn, live in West Palm Beach.

Jeff Guinn is the bestselling author of many books, including War on the Border: Villa, Pershing, The Texas Rangers and an American Invasion; Vagabonds: The Story of Henry Ford and Thomas Edison’s Ten-Year Road Trip; The Road to Jonestown: Jim Jones and the Peoples Temple; Manson: The Life and Times of Charles Manson; Go Down Together: The True Untold Story of Bonnie & Clyde; The Last Gunfight; and The Autobiography of Santa Claus. The former books editor at the Fort Worth Star-Telegram and an award-winning investigative journalist, he is a member of the Texas Institute of Letters and the Texas Literary Hall of Fame. He lives in Fort Worth.

BIO’s Editorial Excellence Award has been presented since 2014. Past recipients are Tim Duggan, Robert Gottlieb, Gayatri Patnaik, Jonathan Segal, Ileene Smith, Nan A. Talese, and Robert Weil.

Join Us for a Special Zoom Workshop with Ruth Franklin

 

 

Update: The recording of this event is available here.

 

Please join us for a special Zoom workshop with Ruth Franklin as she discusses what biographers can learn about writing biography from closely reading one of her favorites, The Quest for Corvo: An Experiment in Biography (1934), in which A.J.A Symons attempts to chronicle the life of an elusive writer whom he discovers to be part priest, part con man. She will be interviewed by Anne Boyd Rioux.

This event will inaugurate a series of such discussions this winter and spring. Reading the book ahead of time will not be necessary for gaining insights about voice, structure, use of sources, and more. But if you can read at least part of it, that would surely enrich your experience. The event will also be recorded and available for later viewing.

To register and receive the link for the event, please go to https://us06web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZIkcuyrrjIiGt3_V5moWoENfhLhL0-Avx6G

Ruth Franklin is a book critic, biographer, and former editor at The New Republic. Her book Shirley Jackson: A Rather Haunted Life won numerous awards, including the National Book Critics Circle Award for Biography and BIO’s Plutarch Award, and was named a New York Times Notable Book of 2016, a Time magazine top nonfiction book of 2016, and a “best book of 2016” by The Boston Globe, the San Francisco Chronicle, NPR, and others. She is also the author of A Thousand Darknesses: Lies and Truth in Holocaust Fiction (2011), a finalist for the Sami Rohr Prize for Jewish Writing. Her criticism and essays appear in many publications, including the New Yorker, the New York Times Magazine, the New York Review of Books, and Harper’s. She is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship in biography, a Cullman Fellowship at the New York Public Library, a Leon Levy Fellowship in biography, and the Roger Shattuck Prize for Criticism.

Anne Boyd Rioux is a member of BIO’s Board of Directors and the author of Meg, Jo, Beth, Amy: The Story of Little Women and Why It Still Matters (Norton 2018), chosen as one of the best books of 2018 by the Daily Mail, Library Journal, and A Mighty Girl. Her biography Constance Fenimore Woolson: Portrait of a Lady Novelist was chosen by the Chicago Tribune as one of the ten best books of 2016. She is the recipient of four National Endowment for the Humanities awards, two for public scholarship. You can find her online at https://anneboydrioux.com/.

New BIO Roundtables and a Special YA Biography Event

BIO is introducing two new roundtables for members. These are opportunities for members to meet once a month or so via Zoom to network and discuss their projects. Please contact the hosts to join.

Science biography (including nature and medicine): Gabriella Kelly-Davies

Global biography (to discuss the challenges of writing global and international biography): Victoria Phillips

And the YA Biography roundtable, hosted by Heidi King, is welcoming new members and is holding a special event that anyone interested may join. Contact Heidi

YA and Children’s Literature Roundtable: Thursday, July 22 at 6 pm ET
The next Writing YA and Children’s Literature Roundtable will feature a discussion on trends in children’s literature with Kathy G. Short, professor at the University of Arizona and Director of Worlds of Words: Center of Global Literacies and Literatures, whose work centers around children’s and adolescent literature in a diverse society. Dr. Short will discuss her observations of recent trends in YA/children’s literature with emphasis on children’s biography and what she would like to see more of in the market. She will then be open to questions from the group.

BIO Zoom Workshop: Biography and Storytelling – A Conversation with Candice Millard

How do biographers create compelling narratives from the facts of history? In her captivating slice-of-life biographies, BIO Award winner Candice Millard shows us how it’s done, with stirring and highly effective results. In this BIO workshop, which you can see here, Candice spoke about her passion for research and her disciplined approach to crafting narrative biography in a conversation with BIO President Linda Leavell. Biographers at any level of experience can admire and learn from the skills she brings to the field.

Candice Millard

Candice Millard is the author of three New York Times bestsellers: The River of Doubt: Theodore Roosevelt’s Darkest Journey; Destiny of the Republic: A Tale of Madness, Medicine and the Murder of a President (James Garfield); and Hero of the Empire: The Boer War, A Daring Escape and the Making of Winston Churchill. She is the recipient of the 2017 BIO Award, the Edgar Award for Best Fact Crime, and the PEN Center USA Award for Research Nonfiction. Her most recent book, Hero of the Empire, was named Amazon’s number one history book of 2016. Millard’s work has also appeared in The New York Times Book Review, Washington Post Book World, The Guardian, National Geographic, and Time magazine. Her next book—on Sir Richard Burton, John Hanning Speke, and Sidi Mubarak Bombay’s search for the source of the Nile—will be released in 2022.

Linda Leavell

Linda Leavell

Linda Leavell, president of BIO, won the 2014 Plutarch Award, the PEN/Weld Award for Biography, and the Modernist Studies Association Book Award for Holding On Upside Down: The Life and Work of Marianne Moore. It was also a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. Her current project is a group biography of three photographers and four modernist painters in the Stieglitz Circle.

Register Here

BIO Zoom Workshop: Biography of Science, Medicine, and Innovation

What particular challenges and opportunities lie in writing about the lives of pioneers in the fields of science, medicine, and technology? Three distinguished panelists share their experiences, ranging from making technical information accessible to general and young adult audiences, to debunking “racial champion” myths and revealing “warts-and-all” about legendary subjects. Watch a video of the workshop here.

Panelists:
Rayvon Fouché
is Professor of American Studies in the School of Interdisciplinary Studies at Purdue University. His work explores the multiple intersections between cultural representation, racial identification, and technological design.  He is the author of Black Inventors in the Age of Segregation: Granville T. Woods, Lewis H. Latimer, & Shelby Davidson (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2003), and authored or edited Appropriating Technology: Vernacular Science and Social Power (University of Minnesota Press, 2004), Technology Studies (Sage Publications, 2008), the 4th Edition of the Handbook of Science & Technology Studies (MIT Press, 2016), and Game Changer: The Technoscientific Revolution in Sports (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2017). https://www.rayvonfouche.com

Charlotte D. Jacobs, MD, is a Professor of Medicine at Stanford University and a proud member of BIO. Her first biography, Henry Kaplan and the Story of Hodgkin’s Disease (Stanford University Press, 2010), tells the story of a controversial physician-scientist whose passionate drive to cure cancer changed the course of cancer therapy. Jacobs’ second biography, Jonas Salk: A Life (Oxford University Press, 2015), chronicles the life of one of America’s most beloved scientific heroes. Salk’s polio vaccine all but eradicated a crippling disease, and the scientific community never forgave him. It was chosen as a New York Times Notable Book of the Year and as a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book prize for Biography. http://www.charlottejacobs.net  

Catherine Reef has written more than forty books for young readers and adults, many of them biographies. For Sigmund Freud: Pioneer of the Mind (Clarion, 2001) she received the Sydney Taylor Award and a National Jewish Book Award Honor. Florence Nightingale: The Courageous Life of the Legendary Nurse (Clarion, 2016) was named an Outstanding Science Trade Book by the National Science Teachers Association. Catherine is also the recipient of the 2020-2021 Children’s Book Guild Nonfiction Award, which honors her body of work. She lives and writes in College Park, Maryland. http://catherinereef.com 

Moderator:
Marlene Trestman
 is the author of Fair Labor Lawyer: The Remarkable Life of New Deal Attorney and Supreme Court Advocate Bessie Margolin, and is now writing Most Fortunate Unfortunates: New Orleans’s Jewish Orphans’ Home, 1855-1946 for LSU Press. For her writing, Trestman has received funding from NEH, Hadassah-Brandeis Institute, Supreme Court Historical Society, American Jewish Archives, and Texas Jewish Historical Society. www.marlenetrestman.com