Friday, October 23, 2009

Writer Spotlight: Brian Mann

The following is a Q&A with Brian Mann, author of "Welcome to the Homeland: A Journey to the Rural Heart of America's Conservative Revolution."

NAME: Brian Mann
FIELD: Journalist
EMPLOYER: North Country Public Radio (Adirondack Bureau chief) & Freelance

Q. What were your main writing and publishing accomplishments this past year?
A. This was the 10th anniversary of the Adirondack News bureau, so a lot of the funnest work was in celebration of that milestone. NCPR also won two national Edward R. Murrow Awards.

Q. What new projects are you working on for the upcoming year?
A. I'll be covering the "white nose syndrome" outbreak that's killing bats in the Northeast. I also hope to rededicate myself to more outdoor writing. Q. What are your upcoming public appearances?
A. I'll be speaking at an Adirondack Mountain Club event in the fall and taking part in an Adirondack Center for Writing seminar. But I hide out as much as I can when I'm off duty!
Q. If you were to write a book with one other person in the world, who would it be and what would you write?
A. Great question, but I'm a horrible collaborator. I love working with editors, who tighten and sharpen my writing. But putting my fingers on the keyboard is a very personal, private thing for me. The next book I'd love to write is about the demise of North American bats ... how's that for wonky!

Q. What do you like the most about living in and/or writing about the Adirondack region?

A. This landscape and community offers everything I want, from hard winter (which I love) to the open field country of the Champlain Valley (I spent part of my childhood in the Midwest) to the mountains and alpine country of the High Peaks (I also grew up in Alaska). People keep telling me I'm not really a local yet, but I think I've always been a local.

I grew up in Kansas and Alaska. For years I made my living butchering fish on the coast of the Gulf of Alaska. Then I started volunteering for public radio stations, where I learned my craft. We moved to the Adirondacks a decade ago. My wife Susan is a village trustee in Saranac Lake. My son Nicholas is an eighth grader. We feel blessed to be part of this community - and I feel blessed to be in a place with such a rich community of writers.

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