Writing has appeared in Vogue, Salon, Mother Jones, Sierra, The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, The Christian Science Monitor, High Country News, Field and Stream and others.
Syndicated columns in more than 100 newspapers.
Essays in literary magazines including Orion and Ecotone.
Susan Zakin is one of the best environmental journalists I know. She has built her career on excellent writing, superior story telling and a relentless commitment to getting the truth. I know her best for her work here in the American West where her stories about the desert southwest captured its beauty and the pathos of its changes.
Coyotes and Town Dogs was a landmark in environmental journalism, but it was also a fun read that rivaled Edward Abbey’s The Monkeywrench Gang. At a time when most reporters were shackled by the threat someone might think they cared, Zakin showed her readers why they should care. She helped them get angry. She made them laugh.
Rocky Barker, Idaho Statesman, author Scorched Earth: How the Fires of Yellowstone Changed America
Mentor at Creative Nonfiction Foundation
Work with writers on their manuscripts.
Combine teaching and editing to arrive at
a polished and publishable piece of writing.
Available for private editing. Send me an email
and tell me about your project.
As the LA Weekly's environmental writer, I came along at a time when real estate development threatened the region's last privately owned wild areas. My stories, like this one, dealt with environmental politics, including a profile of outlaw Rod Coronado, but I also wrote about Graham Greene and Luis Urrea, African politics and music, Hurricane Katrina, and the death of free form radio.
When the respected magazine editor Terry McDonnell was given the job of modernizing this venerable outdoor magazine, he hired me to cover politics. I became the Washington, D.C. columnist for this 500,000-circulation National Magazine Award winner, joining hunting and fishing writers and luminaries such as Richard Ford and Jim Harrison. I covered the 1992 presidential campaign and the 1994 midterm elections, writing about campaign finance and the role of lobbyists. I wrote about the Clinton administration's environmental initiatives, international issues, and breakthroughs in science, and I conducted one-on-one interviews with political figures including John McCain and Bruce Babbitt.
Digital Media Consultant
Evangelist and strategist for Tech Rocks, the first Internet guru to the environmental movement. Consulted on projects ranging from a multi-million-dollar web portal (verde.com) to outreach for grassroots groups. Moving from content strategy to business, I pioneered revenue models based on strategic partnerships in the nonprofit space. The Atlantic Monthly's online channels now use strategies I pioneered.
UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA
Worked with Office of the President on startup website. Content focused on the university's research programs, from rap music to astrophysics. Position required sensitivity to the culture of academia, and the intellectual chops to gain the respect of professors. Click here for a story about the rarely recognized emotional content of rap and here for a profile of Alison Gopnik, who changed the way we think about kids. Aesthetics and psychoanalysis are intertwined for a Frenchman from Tunisia who loves American films. Or find out what roadkill teaches us about saving the world.
Suffolk University, Dakar, Senegal campus
Visting Assistant Professor
Taught writing and world literature to a pan-African student population at the Dakar, Senegal campus of a U.S. university. The majority of students were non-native English speakers, so I relied on visual narrative and rhetorical analysis to engage them with classic texts such as The Great Gatsby. And I got to see native son Youssou N'Dour playing at a club.
University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona
Adjunct Instructor, Visiting Teacher of Nonfiction at Writing Works Center
Taught creative writing workshops in fiction and nonfiction. Taught freshman writing (101 research and 102 rhetoric ) as well as inquiry-based honors writing classes (102 and 103) that I designed. Led creative nonfiction workshops for community members in the university's Writing Works program.
University of Arizona
M.F.A. Creative Writing, Fiction
Paradise. Studied fiction, non-fiction, and poetry in a creative writing program justly known for the teaching of craft.
Edward Abbey taught here, but long before I was around.
(The photo is by my friend Terry Moore.)
I learned about the Federal Register and read Armies of the Night. Seemed like a good idea at the time.
B.A. English and History cum laude
Eminent Victorians, mostly. Edmund Gosse's father makes a cameo appearance in The Afterlife of Victor Kamara.
The Brearley School
Where juvenile delinquents are magically transformed into bluestockings. A painful process sometimes compared to Full Metal Jacket.
Fellowships and Awards (selected)
International Center for Journalists
Sen. John Heinz Fellow in Environmental Reporting
When I spent three months in Madagascar as the Sen. John Heinz Fellow in Environmental Reporting, I approached the job of training reporters as a cultural exchange: I set up workshops on conservation biology, but I also attended field trips on air pollution organized by the national journalists' association. I have written about Madagascar for The Christian Science Monitor and other publications.