This week on the podcast I talk with Wil S. Hylton. Hylton wrote the book “Vanished,” which focuses on the modern-day search for one American bomber that crashed over the Pacific Islands during World War II. That bomber carried 11 men, who for decades, were listed as missing in action. Finding that lost bomber gave closure to the families of those men, but it also took an amazing feat of detective work and amazing modern technology.
“Vanished” out in November 2013 and has garnered praise from newspapers and magazines around the country. Time Magazine said the book contains “passages so expressive that we’re constantly reminded we’re in the hands of a phenomenal writer.”
Hylton is a contributing writer for The New York Times Magazine. His work has also been featured in Harpers, GQ, Esquire and Rolling Stone, among many others magazines. He’s profiled US Attorney general Eric Holder among many others and written about the doomed Air France Flight 447. He’s also written about mothers who make the agonizing decision to abandon their children at safe havens.
You can also find out more about Hylton by visiting wilshylton.com.
Mike Sager is a bestselling author and award-winning reporter who has been called the beat poet of American journalism. He currently works as a writer at large for Esquire Magazine, and is also the editor and publisher of The Sager Group, a consortium of multimedia artists and writers.
Sager recently co-edited the book, "Next Wave: America’s New Generation of Great Literary Journalists." He’s also released a collection of his own magazine stories called "The Someone You’re Not," as well as a novel titled "High Tolerance."
Sager began his journalism career in the Washington Post newsroom, working for Bob Woodward. He went on to write for dozens of high profile magazines, including GQ, Playboy, Rolling Stone, Vibe, Spy and Interview, among many others. In 2010, he won a National Magazine Award for profile writing for his story on former NFL quarterback Todd Marinovich.
As usual, we’ve linked to many of Sager’s stories on our website. You can find that at gangreythepodcast.com. You can also find out more about Sager at mikesager.com
Flinder Boyd is a former professional basketball player who now writes longform journalism. For 10 years, he played as a point guard in the lower and upper levels of many professional European basketball leagues.
Now he’s writing, often about basketball. His story “20 Minutes at Rucker Park” profiles a young man’s cross-country journey on a Greyhound bus to New York City’s streetball Mecca.
That story was published on SB Nation Longform. It was subsequently a Longform selection and named by Longreads a Top 5 Longread of the Week. It was also a Nieman Storyboard recommended reading selection and earned Boyd Longread’s Favorite New Writer Discovery in 2013. Finally, Sports on Earth called the story a Top 20 sports story in 2013.
He’s written two other stories for SB Nation Longform; a profile of NBA player Chris Copeland and a first-hand account of the corruption and chaos of playing professional basketball in Slovakia.
Boyd has also written for The Classical, Sports On Earth and BBC online among others. He blogs at I wish I was a little bit taller dot org. You can follow him on Twitter @FlinderBoyd.
Chris Jones is a writer at large for Esquire, as well as a back-page columnist for ESPN The Magazine. Jones has twice won National Magazine Awards. In 2009, his story “The Things that Carried Him” won for feature writing.
Jones is an expert profile writer. His 2010 piece on the late Roger Ebert is, in our opinion, one of the best celebrity profiles ever written. It’s touching and poignant, showing a side of the film critic that hadn’t been seen since Ebert’s battle with cancer.
Most recently, Jones turned his eye on a man most have never heard of, but a man who has been involved in nearly every major tragic event in recent US history. His Esquire story, “Kenneth Feinberg: the nation’s leading expert in picking up the pieces,” looks at the man who decides how much money the surviving victims of horrific shootings and bombings get once there is a monetary fund set up for those victims.
In 2011, Jones participated in a virtual roundtable discussion moderated by Gangrey host Matt Tullis. That discussion focused on journalism as a sub-genre of creative nonfiction, and was published in Creative Nonfiction in the Winter 2012 issue of the magazine. The discussion was ultimately the inspiration for the podcast.
As always, there are links to many of Jones’s stories on our website, www.gangreythepodcast.com. There is also a link to the Creative Nonfiction piece, “Getting the Story,” there.
Michael Kruse is a staff writer on the enterprise team at the Tampa Bay Times. In October and November, Kruse published a three-part series titled “The Last Voyage of the Bounty.” It chronicled a tall wooden ship bound for St. Petersburg, Fla., as she sailed straight into Hurricane Sandy. Sixteen sailors were aboard that ship, and not everyone survived.
Kruse has been recognized for his writing and reporting a number of times. Most recently, he won the Paul Hansell Award for Distinguished Achievement in Florida Journalism. He also won the American Society of News Editors distinguished nondeadline writing award. His story, “A Brevard woman disappeared, but never left home,” was included in the anthology “Next Wave: America’s Next Generation of Great Literary Journalists.” He’s given a TedX talk on the importance of story, and has written the book “Taking the Shot: The Davidson Basketball Moment.”
On top of writing for the Tampa Bay Times, Kruse has also been published by ESPN, Yahoo sports, Our State and Men’s Health magazines and Harvard’s Nieman Storyboard, among others.
You can find links to many of his stories on our website, www.gangreythepodcast.com.
Jeremy Markovich is a writer and columnist for Charlotte magazine. He is also a contributor to SB Nation Longform and Our State magazine, and an Emmy-award winning producer at WCNC-TV. His first story about a blind man who hiked the Appalachian Trail won several awards, including the National City and Regional Magazine Award for Personality Profile.
On this episode, we talk with him about two stories he wrote for SB Nation Longform. The first — "Elegy of a Race Car Driver" — is about famed NASCAR racer Dick Trickle, who committed suicide earlier this May. That story was recently named a Best of 2013: Sports by Longform. The second — "Over the Edge" — is about BASE jumping, particularly those who gather at the New River Gorge bridge in West Virginia on the third Saturday in October every year to jump.
Susan Dominus is a staff writer at the New York Times Magazine. She’s written about everything from higher education to organizational psychology. She also writes celebrity profiles. The most recent focused on Daniel Radcliffe of Harry Potter Fame. The other was about Stephen King and family of writers.
The Radcliffe piece — Daniel Radcliffe's Next Trick is to Make Harry Potter Disappear — followed the Harry Potter star as he promoted the independent film "Kill Your Darlings." The story shows just how much life as Harry Potter has affected the young actor.
"Stephen King's Family Business" centered around a family get-together in Maine, where the King family of writers got together to discussion the early days of Stephen's career and the new generation of writers he raised.
This week on Gangrey: The Podcast, we talk with Jeanne Marie Laskas, a correspondent for GQ and the director of The Writing Program at the University of Pittsburgh.
She is the author of six books, including her latest, “Hidden America,” as well as the award-winning trilogy of memoirs: “Fifty Acres and Poodle,” “The Exact Same Moon,” and “Growing Girls.”
At GQ, Laskas writes about everything from concussions to migrant workers to hit-men.
Formerly a contributing editor at Esquire, and a weekly columnist (“Significant Others”) at The Washington Post Magazine, she has been writing for national magazines for twenty years, with work appearing in The New York Times Magazine, Smithsonian Magazine, O: The Oprah Magazine, Allure, Ladies Home Journal, and many others.
Her work has appeared in numerous anthologies, including Best American Magazine Writing and Best American Sports Writing.
This week on Gangrey The Podcast, John Woodrow Cox of the Tampa Bay Times talks about writing short narratives. Cox has been with the newspaper since 2011, where he is a general assignment reporter in Pinellas County. He covers breaking news and has led long-term investigations into frivolous government spending, military contract fraud and Florida’s prescription pill epidemic.
He also writes feature stories, including the “Dispatches from Next Door” series for the Floridian magazine. These stories are very short — just 500 words long — but painstakingly reported. They tell a full story in a very short amount of space.
We talked with him about two such stories, one about a woman who is only able to find peace on the ocean. The other is about a senior citizen always on the look for that special young woman who will save him from lonliness. We also talked about writing crime stories and how it can help form a narrative sense.
This week, we talk with Wright Thompson, a senior writer for ESPN.com and ESPN The Magazine. Thompson is widely regarded as one of the top literary sports journalists in the country. His work has been featured in seven editions of "Best American Sports Writing." This year, his story "Urban Meyer will be home for dinner," was included in the anthology.
2013 has been an epic year for Thompson, who has written several memorable stories, including a profile of Michael Jordan as he turned 50 years old, a story about Italy’s racist soccer thugs, a story about a paralyzed fly rod maker in Montana and a profile of legendary wrestling coach Dan Gable in the wake of the International Olympic Committee cutting that sport.
In this podcast, we talk about the Gable story, which Thompson says he wouldn't change a thing about, and the Jordan story. Both are intimate profiles of people you wouldn't think would ever open up to anyone, let alone a reporter.