Combining aspects of nature and sports writing, spiritual autobiography and the sociology of subcultures, the newly emergent genre of the surf memoir provides the focus of this discussion between three practitioners of the form—Thad Ziolkowski, author of On a Wave and the forthcoming The Drop, Diane Cardwell, author of Rockaway: Surfing Headlong Into a New Life, and Michael Scott Moore, author of Sweetness and Blood: How Surfing Spread from Hawaii and California to the Rest of the World, with Some Unexpected Results.
Thad Ziolkowski, Associate Director of the Leon Levy Center, is the author of the surf memoir On a Wave, which was a finalist for the PEN/Martha Albrand Award in 2003, Wichita, a novel, and The Drop: How the Most Addictive Sport Can Help Us Understand Addiction and Recovery, forthcoming from HarperCollins in July. His essays and reviews have appeared in The New York Times, Slate, Bookforum, Artforum, Travel & Leisure, Interview Magazine and Index. He is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship and has a Ph.D. in English Literature from Yale University.
Diane Cardwell is a former reporter and editor for the New York Times. An inaugural writer of “Portraits of Grief,” the signature profiles of those killed in the 9/11 attack, she also covered alternative energy, politics, crime, urban development, the borough of Brooklyn, the New York hospitality industry and even surfing, focusing on how new priorities, tastes, policies and technologies change people’s lives. She was a John S. Knight Fellow at Stanford University and, before coming to the Times, an editor at 7 Days, an award-winning New York weekly, a founder of Vibe and an arts and entertainment contributor and editor at several national magazines. She lives, gardens and surfs in Rockaway Beach, New York.
Michael Scott Moore is the author of a comic novel about L.A., Too Much of Nothing, as well as a book about surfing, Sweetness and Blood, which was named a best book of 2010 by The Economist. He’s won Fulbright, Logan, and Pulitzer Center grants for his nonfiction; MacDowell and Wallace Foundation fellowships for his fiction. He grew up in California, but worked for several years as an editor and writer at Spiegel Online International in Berlin. Kidnapped in early 2012 on a reporting trip to Somalia, Moore was held hostage by pirates for 32 months. The Desert and the Sea, a memoir about that ordeal, was published in 2018 by HarperCollins.
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