9/14/2017 Peter Durantine

From Running to Cooking, Journalists Discuss Their Craft and Passion at Writers House

A former Associated Press foreign correspondent, Christopher McDougall reported on war before tracking down an Indian tribe in Mexico for a book about running. As a freelancer for national newspapers and magazines including The New York Times, Jen A. Miller writes about runners, health, and fitness, among other topics.

At the Philadelphia Alumni Writers House on Sept. 21, these two journalists, both running enthusiasts, will talk about freelance writing as a career, read excerpts from their books, and take student questions.

McDougall’s 2009 bestseller, “Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Ever Seen,” describes how the Tarahumara run far and fast in thin sandals. Miller, in her 2016 memoir, “Running: A Love Story: 10 years, 5 Marathons, and 1 Life-Changing Sport,” examines her growth as a person.

“If September’s nonfiction readings had a theme, it would be health and self-improvement,” said Kerry Sherin Wright, the Writers House director. “Writing, running and healthy living seem to go hand-in-hand for some people.”

McDougall also addresses the subject of physical abilities in his recent book, “Natural Born Heroes: How a Daring Band of Misfits Mastered the Lost Secrets of Strength and Endurance.”

Food and health writer Phoebe Lapine follows McDougall and Miller on Sept. 27. Phoebe’s father is F&M alumnus and playwright James Lapine ’71. She describes healthy eating and her fight with an autoimmune disease in her book, “The Wellness Project: How I Learned to Do Right by My Body, Without Giving Up My Life,” published this year

Lapine writes about making changes in her life one step at a time, said Bonchek Dean Beth Proffitt. “It gives people a nice model to follow,” Proffitt said.

The book, a memoir and cookbook with 20 recipes, started as a yearlong blog about nutrition and wellness. On her website, “Feed Me Phoebe,” Lapine says, “It’s my hope that by following along, you’ll be better able to find your own sweet spot between health and hedonism, wherever it may be.”

Christopher McDougall and Jen A. Miller will give their craft talk on freelance writing Sept. 21 at the Philadelphia Alumni Writers House. It begins at 4:30 p.m., followed by readings and a Q&A at 8 p.m. Phoebe Lapine will conduct a craft talk on freelance writing Sept. 27 at 4:30 p.m. at the Writers House, followed by a reading and Q&A at 7:30 p.m. at Bonchek College House.  

  • Journalist and author Christopher McDougall
  • Journalist and author Jen A. Miller
  • Memoir/cookbook author Phoebe Lapine
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