Mary Collins

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Photo by Paul Cryan

Upcoming Readings or Events

Gold Star Magazine and Traveling Exhibit Project

Central Connecticut State University Creative Nonfiction Workshop students interviewed Gold Star Families from Connecticut that lost a son or husband in the Vietnam War. They transformed the transcripts into powerful first-person co-authored essays that shed light, often for the first time, on what the various relatives and friends of the fallen soldiers endured at the time and in the 50 years since the war.

Professor Collins raised more than $10,000 from a range of sources, including a generous $5000 grant from the Trumbull Rotary Club and free printing from Fairfield University Press, to pay for the design and printing of more than 1000 copies of a four-color, 50-page magazine. The photographs and text in the publication will also serve as the framework for a traveling exhibit on Gold Star families in Connecticut, which will go on display in July 2015 at the New England Air Museum as part of a much larger event to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War.

The Gold Star Magazines will be available by November 1, 2014. Please contact Mary Collins at collinsmae@​ or penmary@​ for more information about this project or hosting the travel exhibit at your school or library.

Mary Collins will read from a new essay at the UCONN Bookstore in Storrs, CT on Monday, November 3 at 7:00 p.m. The reading is sponsored by Elephant Rock Books.

Other Authors You Should Read

Books on my night table:
The Most of Nora Ephron

First Rate Madness by Nassir Ghaemi

Story Craft: The Complete Guide to Writing Narrative Nonfiction
Jack Hart
University of Chicago, 2011

Writer * Professor * Public Speaker

PETRIFIED FOREST National Park Service Artists-in-Residence Project

Mary Collins and Susan McElhinney created a prose/​photo profile project of people that work, volunteer and visit the Petrified Forest National Park and Painted Desert in Arizona. "Faces of the Petrified Forest" will be on permanent exhibit in the historic Painted Desert Inn this fall. The fuller version of the project with complete text will also be on the Park's website.

Susan chasing rainbows and tourists while on assignment at the Petrified Forest in AZ.! Explore the new mobile-friendly travel guide by Sal Lilienthal and Mary Collins

Winner Grand Prize Nonfiction, 2010 Indie Book Awards
American Idle looks at the social, cultural, physical and spiritual consequences of our sedentary culture. How can we integrate movement back into everyday life again in the U.S.?


Photobiography of the Wright brothers
National Geographic Books

Mary's essay, "Moving the Idle Masses," is one of six in WHAT I EAT: Around the World in 80 Diets, another great title in Menzel and D'Aluisio's award-winning Material World Series. Other essayists in this volume: Michael Pollan, Wendell Barry and Richard Wrangham.

**Twenty year career as a writer and editor in Washington, DC for a range of clients, including National Geographic, the Smithsonian and Discovery Channel

**Associate Professor of Creative Nonfiction, Central Connecticut State University (2007 to present); Winner Teaching Award 2010; Director of Center for Teaching and Faculty Development

**Part-time professor at Johns Hopkins University MA in Writing Program, Washington, DC (1995-2007); Winner Teaching Award 2003; Winner Professional Achievement Award 2002; taught two graduate classes a term, ran the monthly reading series and helped oversee as many as 80 nonfiction advisees

**Veteran Guest Speaker for a range of clients, including Commencement Speaker, Boston University School of Public Health, 2010; Plenary Speaker, Annual Convention, National Center for Biking and Walking, 2010; Keynote speaker for a range of City Planning Annual Conventions and Bike/​Walk advocacy groups across the country

**Workshop leader and Writing Advisor for a range of corporate clients, including town governments, insurance companies, law offices; panelist at several major writing conferences, including Cape Cod Writers Conference, Baltimore Writers Conference and the Stonecoast Program in Maine

**Award-winning book author and essayist: Winner Grand Prize for Nonfiction at the 2010 Indie Book Awards; Best Book of the Year, American Independent Writers Group, 2010; Best Essay of the Year, Amercian Independent Writers, 2009; Best Essay of the Year, American Society of Journalists and Authors, 2003; Top 10 best YA Biography of the Year on Booklist and NY Public Library, 2003 and others

Agent: Kathi Paton, Kathi Paton Literary Agency
Contact: Kjplitbiz@​