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Holly Payne ’97 today, fully healed 15 years after surviving a drunk driving accident. Photo credit Cindi Kinney.

Writing to Forgive

February 23, 2010

"If I am alive, I am going to write." Holly Payne '97 spoke these words as she lay on the edge of a road beside a cemetery. Seconds earlier, she stopped to assist two stranded cyclists. A passing pickup truck struck all…

Once Upon a Blog

Once Upon a Blog

February 18, 2010

Tell me a story. That edict drives journalism, a craft I chose to pursue when I entered USC in the fall of 1982. Good writing is the backbone of the storytelling done in journalism, along with the good reporting that…

Embedded with a highly clandestine black operations team, Brad Thor ’92 sits with two Afghans in a small village near Kabul. Researching his book, The Apostle, Thor visited scenes of horrific bombings and ambushes. Photo courtesy of Brad Thor.

The Thrill of Writing in the Trenches

January 29, 2010

Walk into any bookstore, make a beeline to The New York Times best-seller section and you will find a political thriller by Brad Thor. The 40-year-old author produces one book a year. To date, he has written eight novels…

Historian & Author Extraordinaire

Historian and Author Extraordinaire

January 27, 2010

Back in Widener Library at Harvard University during the late ’60s, an American historiographer was born. University Professor and Professor of History in USC College, Kevin Starr researched and wrote five chapters for…

From Barbies to Rockets

From Barbies to Rockets

January 27, 2010

No longer do we live in a world divided into two cultures. The literary artist, like the scientist, must embrace science and technology. Telling science stories is an excellent way to do this, though many writers balk at the…

Illustration by Rick Cortes.

The Magic Poetry Bus

January 27, 2010

I grew up within poetry — the sound of my mother’s voice reciting Great Poems. The poetry she recited was canonical: Shakespeare, Milton, Tennyson, Dickinson, Longfellow — but the way she told these poems…

Devon O’Brien is a graduate of the Master of Professional Writing (MPW) program.

An I of My Own

January 27, 2010

“What was it like for you…?” This is a question my editor at the Los Angeles Times never asked me back in 1989, after my luncheon interview with a young and unknown Australian movie actress. So, I will tell…

A scene from <em>Aislin Shardushan</em>, a comic book by Christina Yen and Drew Moxon.


November 24, 2009

Comic books are not solely about superheroes anymore. Nor are they reserved for children. Rather, they have become a younger generation's vehicle for expressing social consciousness. A course offered by the Freshman Seminar…

Mystery Loves Company: A Discussion with the Kellermans

It’s a Family Affair

August 26, 2009

Suspense novelist Jonathan Kellerman ’74 and his wife, novelist Faye Kellerman joined their son, novelist and playwright Jesse Kellerman and their daughter, budding novelist Aliza Kellerman in a fascinating conversation…

Carol Muske-Dukes, professor of English in USC College, was appointed California Poet Laureate by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. Photo credit Carlos Puma.

Elegant Elocution

August 10, 2009

"I write poetry because I have no choice. I've always been haunted by words, by the music of words," said Carol Muske-Dukes, professor of English and California Poet Laureate. A prominent and influential contemporary poet,…