Narrative journalism and the reporters who write it
Author Archives: matttullis
Matt Tullis is the author of Running With Ghosts: A Memoir of Surviving Childhood Cancer. He is the director of Digital Journalism at Fairfield University, and is the host and producer of Gangrey: The Podcast.
“Sidecountry” is a collection of stories Branch has written for the New York Times about sports and athletic activities that take place outside of the mainstream sports world. Included in the book is “Snow Fall,” which won the Pulitzer Prize for Feature Writing in 2013.
There are other stories, like the one about a bowler who rolled his first perfect game and died just minutes later. Branch also includes his piece on a Rubik’s Cube competition (this story was anthologized in Best American Sports Writing 2019), and his series on the Lady Jaguars, a girls basketball team that never won a game.
“I just love the idea of trying to illuminate a story that otherwise wouldn’t get illuminated,” Branch says.
The book is what Andrews calls a semi-biography, semi-celebration of Jeff Goldblum. It also looks into the shifting nature of fame and celebrity. The book came about after Andrews wrote a piece on Goldblum for the Post when the actor released his debut jazz album.
While Andrews didn’t talk with Goldblum for this book – the actor, or his publicist, passed, he did talk to upwards of 80 people who have worked with Goldblum. He also read every single interview that Goldblum’s given, and watched every single movie Goldblum has appeared in.
Flynn’s book is certainly about peacocks, but also so much more. It’s a reported memoir that examines his life as a reporter and how it has impacted his family, and how the animals he takes care of fits into that. He gives credit for this book idea to his editor, Sean Manning.
Flynn has spent his life writing about traumatic events that involved other people. He won a National Magazine Award for his story “The Perfect Fire.” The story is about six firefighters who died in a warehouse fire in Massachusetts, and ran in the July 2000 issue of Esquire.
He’s written about Tamir Rice, the 12 year old Cleveland boy who police killed in a city park. He’s written about mass killings in New Zealand and Norway.
Flynn has written three books. He’s a correspondent for GQ. Aside from books and magazine work, Flynn has also written for television, film, and audio.
Hannah Smith is a reporter, writer, producer, and host of the first season of a new podcast called The Opportunist. That first season was focused on a woman named Sherry Shriner, the leader of an online cult that believed most humans were alien reptiles out to kill them.
The Opportunist is produced by Kast Media. As a podcast, it will focus on true stories of regular people who turn sinister simply by being opportunistic. The second season is set to start in June.
Smith got started in the world of podcasting at Maximum Fun, working on comedy and interview podcasts. She worked on a parenting show called One Bad Mother, as well as the award-winning courtroom comedy Judge John Hodgman.
She’s worked in almost every kind of genre of podcasting, including news, comedy, audio drama, and narrative nonfiction.
Smith is part of the Los Angeles live storytelling community, where she performs true stories from her own life. She is an Angelino who was raised in Middle America. This contrast of rural and urban, of culture and religion, informs her approach to storytelling.
In “Rock Force,” Maurer dives into one relatively small battle during World War II and shows us the men who were there.
Maurer has frequently embedded with American soldiers. In 2003, he followed the 82nd Airborne Division during the initial invasion of Iraq and wrote articles for the Fayetteville Observer in North Carolina.
He returned to cover the soldiers more than a dozen times, most recently in 2010, where he spent ten weeks with a Special Forces team in Afghanistan.
The piece is about how Gruen, the famed author of “Water for Elephants,” was left broke and seriously ill after fighting for six years to free an incarcerated man who she thought was innocent.
Kahler and Gruen are close friends. Kahler says it was cathartic for Gruen to talk about what she had been through. The story got a lot of traction when it was published on March 24, giving more attention to the case of Charles Murdoch, the man Gruen is trying to free.
This was definitely a different type of writing and reporting for Kahler. She’s made a name for herself as a New York Times best-selling author of historical narrative nonfiction. She’s done so under the name of Karen Abbott, although she legally changed her name in 2020, and will now write as Abbott Kahler.
Her first book, “Sin in the Second City,” is about two sisters who ran a famous brothel in Chicago in the early 1900s. Her book “Liar Temptress Soldier Spy” is about four women who worked undercover during the Civil War. Her most recent book, “The Ghosts of Eden Park,” is about a bootleg king in Cincinnati and a shocking murder in 1927. It was an Edgar Award finalist for best fact crime book.
Kahler has written for the New Yorker, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, and other publications. She also maintains the Wicked History Blog, which presents old photos and short reported pieces that describe the photos. She’s currently working on her fifth book, “Then Came the Devil.”
Green did a massive amount of reporting in order to write this book. He gathered trial transcripts, massive amounts of police files, and documents handed over by friends and family members. He also interviewed about 160 people, some of them many times.
Green has written for the New York Times Magazine, The Awl, and New York. He’s been anthologized in Unspeakable Acts, which was edited by Sarah Weinman. She was a guest of the podcast on Episode 69. He recently published a piece in The Appeal headlined “The Dissenter.” That story is about former Louisiana Supreme Court Chief Justice Bernette Johnson. Green has also been an editor at Longform since 2011.
Stout has had an amazingly productive 2021. His book “Young Woman and the Sea” will be turned into a movie for Disney+. Production should be starting soon. The book is about Trudy Ederle, the first woman to swim the English channel. Ederle is going to be played by Daisy Ridley. She played Rey in the newest Star Wars movies.
As if that’s not enough, Stout has also found a way to make sure the best sports writing in the country will continue to be anthologized. “Best American Sports Writing” had its 30th and final year of production in 2020. Stout had been the series editor for the entire time.
He’s managed to create a new series called “The Year’s Best Sports Writing.” It will be published by Triumph Books. Stout will edit the first edition, and he’s created an advisory board that will carry the book forward.
The story goes deep behind the scenes of Adam’s life. That’s something that doesn’t happen often in profiles of star athletes. Fader spent a great deal of time talking with Adams, his wife, and his mother, and came away with a story that shows exactly how the wide receiver has been impacted by becoming a father.
In Fader’s last year at Bleacher Report, she wrote two pieces about the heart-breaking deaths of two athletes. One of those stories was focused on Gigi Bryant, Kobe’s daughter, who died in the helicopter crash one year ago. The other story was about California Angels pitcher Tyler Skaggs, who died of an accidental drug overdose in 2019. Fader said learned so much about empathy in reporting those pieces.
Fader has been noted in Best American Sports Writing twice. She was also a finalist for the Dan Jenkins Medal in 2020.
She is currently writing a book about Milwaukee Bucks superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo. That book will be released in August 2021 by Hachette Books.
Icebound is a gripping piece of narrative journalism focused on European arctic explorers in the 16th century. At the center is William Barents, one of the greatest navigators of the time who’s obsessive quest to sail through the most remote regions of the Arctic ended in both tragedy and glory.
Pitzer did an amazing amount of research in order to tell this centuries-old tale. For Icebound, Pitzer made three trips to the Arctic herself. She spent a great deal of time in archives and libraries. She even walked through a replica of the yachts that sailed in the 16th century.