Randy Olson, author of Houston, We Have a Narrative: Why Science Needs Story (University of Chicago Press, 2015), has an unusual background. He is...

Randy Olson, author of Houston, We Have a Narrative: Why Science Needs Story (University of Chicago Press, 2015), has an unusual background. He is a Harvard-trained biologist and former tenured professor who resigned from his academic post to earn a degree from the world-renowned University of Southern California film school. As a documentary filmmaker, Olson has sought to fuse critical thinking and Hollywood storytelling. And as the author or co-author of three books, Olson has shown how scientists and academics in general can improve their communication skills and harness the power of narrative to improve their writing and presentations. Narrative is an indispensable tool that geographers and others can use to communicate with our students and the general public. Yet Olson also shows how we can hone our narrative intuition and use our story sense to write better abstracts, articles, and grant applications. Houston, We Have a Narrative has gems of wisdom for physical geographers, human geographers, and academics of all stripes.


Bob Wilson is an associate professor in the Department of Geography, Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University. His research interests include historical geography and environmental history, animal studies, and climate change politics and activism. Wilson also teaches Writing Geography, a graduate seminar that introduces students to storytelling, creative nonfiction, and ways to employ these techniques in theses, articles, and books.

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