Lee Gutkind is the author and editor of more than thirty books, including You Can’t Make This Stuff Up: The Complete Guide to Writing Creative Nonfiction–from Memoir to Literary Journalism and Everything in Between, Almost Human: Making Robots Think, The Best Seat in Baseball: But You Have to Stand, Forever Fat: Essays by the Godfather, and the award-winning, Many Sleepless Nights: The World of Organ Transplantation.
Recipient of grants and awards from many different organizations, from the National Endowment for the Arts to the National Science Foundation, the Heinz Endowments and the John Templeton Foundation, Gutkind has appeared on many national radio and television shows, including The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, Good Morning America, andNational Public Radio’s All Things Considered. He holds the position of Distinguished Writer-in-Residence in the Consortium for Science, Policy & Outcomes at Arizona State University and a professor in the School for the Future of Innovation in Society.
Prior to being spotlighted in Vanity Fair Magazine in 1997 as “the Godfather behind creative nonfiction,” Gutkind was its most active advocate and practitioner. In 1991, he founded Creative Nonfiction, the first and the largest literary journal to publish narrative/creative nonfiction exclusively. He was instrumental in starting the first MFA program in creative nonfiction at the University of Pittsburgh and the first low residency program at Goucher College. When Gutkind began pioneering creative nonfiction, few if any university creative writing programs offered courses or degrees, but he saw the creative nonfiction genre as a way of connecting students with the real world through what he called “the literature of reality.” Today, creative nonfiction is the fastest growing genre in the publishing industry and the academy.
Throughout his career, Gutkind has been practicing what he preaches — immersing himself in diverse worlds for months and years and producing dramatic and intimate creative nonfiction books about subjects as rich and varied as the motorcycle subculture, child and adolescent mental illness, baseball umpires, veterinary medicine and organ transplantation.
Continuing to be an outspoken advocate of the now beloved genre, Gutkind has embarked on another creative nonfiction journey introducing the literature of reality to a new set of practitioners—scientists, engineers, policy scholars, mathematicians, roboticists, philosophers. He has presented his “True Stories That Matter” techniques to record-breaking audiences at the National Press Club in Washington, to scientists and engineers at the National Academy of Science, to advocates at Earth Justice, to teachers and administrators at the Institute for Learning, to scholars at the International Design Frontiers national conference, to the prestigious Council on Healthcare Economics and Policy at Princeton University–and to librarians, museums and creative writing programs—from China, to Australia to the Middle East. Gutkind was born and raised in Pittsburgh, PA.