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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 he loves.

“I try to write something every day,” admits Taylor, “although I spend a lot of time in various kinds of research.”

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 crisis.

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.

These profiles were created by the Karen Greenstone's English 303 class (spring 2009)
and edited for the web by Mary Adams's English 303 class (summer 2009).

Students in Mary Adams's English 303 class (fall 2009) wrote additional profiles.