Criticism & Features


NBCC Biography Finalists in Conversation with New School MFA Students 2015


Finalist S. C. Gwynne in Conversation with Nick Johnston

Nick Johnston: I know it’s been four years since you published Empire of the Southern Moon, but when did you get the idea of writing a biography of Stonewall Jackson, and from then on, how long did it take to research and write? Also, was there a typical pattern to a research day for you?

S. C. Gwynne: Back in 2010–11 I had the wonderful good fortune of having a bestseller on my hands. When that happens your options open up a bit and for at least a brief moment in time you can think about doing something you might not normally think about doing. I just went back to what I thought were the most interesting people in history I had heard of, and started reading. Stonewall won. The book took about four years from proposal to the last copy edits. There is no typical pattern for me. I generally spend about 70 percent of my time researching and 30 percent writing and the writing of course always comes after the research….more

Biography Finalist Ian S. MacNiven in Conversation with Nora Brooks



Biography Finalist Miriam Pawel In Conversation With Anthony Roberts