Sitting at Home in Jeans and a T-shirt:
Nonfiction Writer Nick Taylor
Profile by Gretchen Johnston
When you graduate from college, where would you like to
live and what do you want to do? California? Screenwriter?
Washington, D.C.? Poet? Cullowhee? Professor? How about New
York City? For Western Carolina University alumnus Nick Taylor,
New York was the perfect spot to continue his flourishing
career as a nonfiction writer.
Taylor, who started his career as a television and newspaper
reporter, now sits at home in jeans and a T-shirt doing what
“I try to write something every day,” admits
Taylor, “although I spend a lot of time in various kinds
The hours of research have not gone unrewarded. Taylor’s
publications include "John Glenn: A Memoir" (in
which he worked with and got to know John Glenn), "A
Necessary End" (a book about his parents’ final
years), "In Hitler’s Shadow" (adapted into
an HBO movie), "Sins of the Father"(currently under
a motion picture option), "Laser" tells the real
story about how the laser was invented and who invented it.
His most recent book, "American-Made — The Enduring
Legacy of the WPA: When FDR Put the Nation to Work,"
has gotten national attention during the most recent economic
In recent years, Taylor has come back to WCU to share some
of his valuable knowledge, reading in the WCU Spring Literary
Festival and at City Lights Books. Taylor credits WCU with
helping him sharpen his observation and interviewing skills
while creating and developing the skills necessary to make
his writing come alive. These skills helped Taylor get his
start as a newspaper reporter, but he soon found his passion
in nonfiction writing.
“I didn’t know when I left WCU that I could make
a living as a writer outside newspaper,” says Taylor,
“but the possibilities are actually endless.”
Translation: you should reach for your dreams. Many people
will ask you, “what can you do with an English degree
besides teach?” If you want to become a professional
writer, go for it. With an English degree from WCU, you can
achieve your dreams.