|Amelia McGoldrick Photography|
Buenos Aires, Argentina
Place of Birth:
BA in English, Amherst College
MA in English/Creative Writing, Temple University
Why did you choose to come to Amherst?
Of all the schools I visited, it was the least hung-up on its reputation and the most obsessed with the quality of the education provided by faculty who actually loved to teach; the campus is also idyllic, and I liked the idea of being able to take classes at the other four schools.
Favorite (most memorable or most influential) class at Amherst:
I don't remember the official title, but I took a course in physiological psychology which involved rat-based experiments; it was utterly fascinating discovering the role of the amygdala in fear response, and a welcome break from my usual literature classes.
Favorite (most memorable or most influential) professor:
I took a class in Pragmatism from Prof. Joseph Epstein shortly before he died, and I remember him being the professor best able to transmit the passion he felt for his field.
Research Interests? Economic policy in the developing world, South American history, soccer.
Awards and Prizes Ucross Foundation Fellowship
The Great Gatsby
Tips for aspiring writers:
Work and live outside of the world of the academy and writers. Always read, especially authors who write of subjects and in forms you wouldn't use yourself. And always take risks and court failure with your writing. It's the only way to learn. Read George Orwell's essay on writing. Oh, and don't use adverbs that end in -ly. Ever.
Tell us a bit about your path to becoming an author:
I got a MA in creative writing and worked for 15 years as a journalist--writing of everything from business to economics to sports--before I published this book. As I worked in journalism, I got to live in New Orleans, Philadelphia, New York, San Francisco, and Buenos Aires. Living in multiple cities and writing about a variety of subjects, often ones I wouldn't have chosen, was a great help because each article was like a miniature degree in a new subject. Being a journalist gives you a wonderful license to ask almost any question you want of almost anyone you want, from presidents to the homeless.
View Ian's Alumni Profile