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Conference to focus on writing about medicine, science and technology

The 10th Mayborn Literary Nonfiction Conference will feature 21 authors who are accomplished in writing about science, technology, medicine and innovation.

The conference is hosted annually by the Frank W. Mayborn Graduate Institute of Journalism, which is part of the Frank W. and Sue Mayborn School of Journalism. It will be held July 18-20 at the Hilton DFW Lakes Executive Conference Center in Grapevine.

George Getschow, the Graduate Institute’s writer-in-residence and conference director, said all of the writers who will speak at the conference “are recognized masters at transforming the often arcane and esoteric fields of science, technology, medicine and innovation into compelling narratives that enable all of us to see our world in a new light.”

This year’s keynote speakers are: David Quammen, contributing writer for National Geographic; Lawrence Wright, staff writer for The New Yorker and a Pulitzer Prize-winning author; and Sheri Fink, another Pulitzer Prize winner and the author of Five Days At Memorial: Life and Death in a Storm-Ravaged Hospital, a New York Times bestseller.  

            Other nationally known conference speakers include:

          • Joel Achenbach, science and politics reporter for The Washington Post

          • Sam Kean, author of The Tale of the Dueling Neurosurgeons

          • Amy Dockser Marcus, Pulitzer Prize winning science writer for The Wall Street Journal

          • Seth Mnookin, author of The Panic Virus: The True Story Behind the Vaccine-Autism Controversy

           • Dennis Overbye, deputy science editor for The New York Times

           • Elizabeth Royte, author of Garbage Land: On the Secret Trail of Trash.

David QuammenQuammen, right, the speaker at this year’s Friday keynote address on July 18, has written 15 books, including his latest, Spillover: Animal Infections and the Next Human Pandemic, which discusses the science, history and human impacts of Ebola, SARS and other emerging viral diseases. Spillover was a Booklist Top 10 Science Book of 2012, a 2012 New York Times Book Review Notable Book and a Daily Beast Top 11 Book of 2012.

He first wrote for National Geographic in 1999 when he accompanied American ecologist and conservationist J. Michael Fay on part of a 2000-mile survey hike through the forests of Central Africa. He received a National Magazine Award in 2005 for his cover story, “Was Darwin Wrong?” Quammen also received National Magazine Awards in 1987 and 1994. He was a columnist for Outside magazine for 15 years and has also contributed to The Atlantic, Esquire, Harper’s and Rolling Stone.  

Lawrence WrightWright, left, will give his keynote speech on July 19. He will join other members of his blues band, Who Do, for a performance after his speech, in celebration of the conference’s 10th year.

Wright joined the staff of The New Yorker in December 1992 and has also written for Rolling Stone and Texas Monthly. He based his 2013 book, Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood and the Prison of Belief, on a New Yorker profile he wrote of writer-director Paul Haggis, who is best known for the Oscar-winning movie Crash. The article received a National Magazine Award. Wright is also the author of The Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda and the Road to 9/11, which received a Pulitzer Prize for General Nonfiction and was nominated for a National Book Award. In addition, Wright co-wrote the script of the 1998 movie The Siege and wrote the script of the 2000 Showtime movie Noriega: God’s Favorite.

Sheri FinkFink, right, is the keynote speaker for July 20. A former relief worker in disaster and conflict zones, she received a Pulitzer Prize for Investigative Reporting and a National Magazine Award in 2010 for a New York Times Magazine article about choices that the staff at a New Orleans faced during the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. The article also won a National Magazine Award.

Fink’s 2013 book, Five Days at Memorial: Life and Death in a Storm-Ravaged Hospital, is based on the article. She is also the author of War Hospital: A True Story of Surgery and Survival, which is about medical professionals under siege during the genocide in Srebrenica, Bosnia-Herzegovina.

Conference registration fees are $374 for the general public, $354 for educators and $324 for students through May 1. After May 1, all participants will pay $425. Registration includes all speaker sessions as well as several meals. Registration information is online and closes June 1 or whenever the conference is filled. The Friday and Saturday keynote events are open to guests of those who have registered for the conference, and members of the general public, for separate fees.

- Nancy Kolsti, News Promotions

Posted on: Mon 03 February 2014

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