BIO & CAREER
Trevor Corson is the author of two highly-acclaimed books of documentary narrative journalism, and his articles and essays—on subjects as diverse as science, medicine, religion, economics, international politics, and military strategy and history—have appeared in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Los Angeles Times, The Boston Globe, The Atlantic Monthly, Men's Health, The Nation, The American Prospect, Boston Magazine, Gastronomica, Transition, and other publications. His work has been anthologized in The Best American Science Writing edited by Oliver Sacks and has received commendation in Best American Essays. For four years Trevor was the managing editor of the literary journal of race and ethnicity Transition, published out of the W.E.B. DuBois Institute at Harvard University.
Trevor's first book was the worldwide popular-science bestseller The Secret Life of Lobsters: How Fishermen and Scientists Are Unraveling the Mysteries of Our Favorite Crustacean. To research the book he worked for two years as a year-round commercial fisherman while living on a small island off the coast of Maine. To research his second book, the award-winning The Story of Sushi: An Unlikely Saga of Raw Fish and Rice, he accompanied a group of apprentice chefs of diverse backgrounds through their kitchen training in Los Angeles.
Trevor has lectured widely around the United States and discussed his work on many major media outlets. He has taught writing, science and medical journalism, narrative journalism, science communication, American studies, and other subjects at Columbia University in New York City, Boston University, the University of Helsinki, and other institutions, and has developed curricula in these subject areas. As a teacher and workshop leader he has worked with senior scientists, mid-career professionals, graduate students, military veterans, undergraduates, and high-school students. He is the founder and director of NeuWrite Nordic, a branch supported by the Kone Foundation of the international collaborative science-writing workshop NeuWrite, established by the chair of biological sciences and the graduate writing program at Columbia University.
Trevor is married to the Finnish writer Anu Partanen, author of The Nordic Theory of Everything. They currently live in Helsinki.
More about Trevor Corson's career
When Trevor was nine years old he wrote his first book, an illustrated novel bound with cardboard and yarn that told of a belly-button cleaning robot gone berserk. Since then he has pursued writing projects in different ways. He has worked as a commercial lobsterman through winters on the coast of New England, shadowed chefs in kitchens and sex workers on adult film sets in Southern California, participated in fire rituals in Buddhist temples in rural Japan, lived among student activists in China, hitched rides aboard scientific research ships in the Gulf of Maine, and partnered with an atomic-bomb survivor teaching teenagers about the effects of nuclear weapons.
Trevor's two years of working full-time on commercial fishing boats led to his first book of documentary narrative journalism, The Secret Life of Lobsters: How Fishermen and Scientists are Unraveling the Mysteries of our Favorite Crustacean, which was named a Best Nature Book of the Year by USA Today and Discover magazine, a Best Book of the Year by Time Out New York, and a Discover Great New Writers selection by Barnes & Noble. Next, Trevor's interest in the science of sea life and how the oceans are harvested, along with several years he spent living in Japan, led to his second narrative journalism book, The Story of Sushi: An Unlikely Saga of Raw Fish and Rice, which documented an apprenticeship program at a sushi-chef training academy in Los Angeles. This book was named an Editors' Choice by The New York Times Book Review, a Best Food Book of the Year by Zagat, and The Best American Food Literature Book of the Year by the Gourmand Awards.
Trevor's work has led to him being featured on CBS Sunday Morning; ABC World News with Charles Gibson; NPR's All Things Considered and Talk of the Nation; WAMU's The Diane Rehm Show; WNYC's RadioLab; BBC's Reel, Natural Histories, Food Chain, and The Food Programme; Food Network's hit television show Iron Chef America; the podcast Pitchfork Economics with Nick Hanauer, and the Gastropod podcast, as well as on numerous other television and radio programs and in print.
As an editor Trevor has worked on a variety of article- and book-length projects and for four years was the managing editor of the international literary journal Transition. The preeminent magazine of African independence in the 1960s and '70s, Transition has since been published out of the W.E.B. DuBois Institute and then the Hutchins Center for African and African American Research at Harvard University. During Trevor's tenure at Transition, the journal won three consecutive Alternative Press Awards for International Reporting and was nominated for a National Magazine Award in General Excellence.
Trevor has been an invited speaker at some of the premier venues in the United States, including the National Press Club, the National Geographic Society, the Smithsonian Institution, and the American Museum of Natural History. He has lectured widely on the topics of his work at schools, libraries, conferences, clubs, and many other locations.
As a teacher Trevor has served as an adjunct creative-writing professor in the graduate arts program at Columbia University in New York City, and as a full-time lecturer and course program co-director in the undergraduate writing program in the Department of English at Columbia. He has also been a lecturer in the graduate Program in Science and Medical Journalism at Boston University, a visiting writer in the MFA program at the University of Memphis, a lecturer at The New School, and a faculty member at Brooklyn Friends School. He has taught writing workshops for the Key West Literary Seminar, the Nieman Conference on Narrative Journalism at Harvard University, the Program in the History of Science and Medicine at Yale University, the Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science at the University of Miami, the Symbioses BioSocial Network, the Department of Evolutionary Biology and Environmental Studies at the University of Zürich, the Helsinki Institute of Life Sciences at the University of Helsinki, and other venues.
Trevor's research, writing, and teaching have been supported by a John Fisher Zeidman Memorial Chinese Studies Fellowship at Beijing Normal University, a Japanese Ministry of Education Fellowship at Taisho University in Tokyo, a Knight Fellowship in the Investigative Science Journalism Boot Camp at MIT, a Teaching Fellowship from the School of the Arts at Columbia University in New York City, and a four-year grant from the Kone Foundation. He has a master's degree in nonfiction writing from the School of the Arts at Columbia University and a graduate certificate in philosophy of biology from the ISSG institute at Columbia University; he graduated Phi Beta Kappa and Summa cum laude from Princeton University where he studied international politics, East Asian languages and religion, and African American Studies. He has been a member of the PEN America Society, the American Society of Journalists and Authors, the Association of Writers & Writing Programs, the Science and Social Difference Working Group at Columbia University, and the NeuWrite collaborative science-writing group. Trevor went on to found a NeuWrite Nordic branch, of which he is the current director, with the support of the Kone Foundation.
For about six years Trevor hosted a series of historical sushi dinners, mainly in New York City. The dinners received wide media coverage and educated attendees on the gastronomic and ecological benefits of traditional sustainable seafood. He co-authored the Blue Ocean Institute's Guide to Ocean-Friendly Sushi, and his educational video Sushi: You're Doing It All Wrong, produced by CBS, was a finalist for a Digital Ellie award from the American Society of Magazine Editors.