I write and I teach.
Click on the Works tab or the titles at the left column for more information about my books.
For the past three years I have been following the maple syrup industry, talking to some of its most dedicated people, visiting sugarhouses, and watching the progress of the seasons of 2010, 2011 and 2012. This venerated tradition, deeply rooted in the cultural fabric of so many communities, has undergone dramatic technological changes in the last forty years. But all depends on the tree and the weather, and the maple syrup producer’s greatest challenge might be climate change. My book will be published by DaCapo Press in 2014.
During 2013 I will be in Bogota, Colombia, teaching at the Nacional Universidad via a fellowship from the Fulbright Foundation. I will be based in the U.S. Studies Center, teaching a course in narrative nonfiction writing and doing research on writers and journalists in Colombia.
I have taught at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, Mount Holyoke College, in the graduate creative writing program at Columbia University in New York, and at Emerson College in Boston where I am a professor in the Writing, Literature and Publishing program.
I am one of those writers who had some oddball jobs. I worked as a dolphin trainer and fish curator at Sealand of Cape Cod. I worked as a piano tuner at the University of Massachusetts. I worked as a blues pianist and studied piano with Sammy Price, king of boogie-woogie, on his piano in Harlem.
During a summer in college I was a bee inspector for the state of Massachusetts, which led to my first book, Following the Bloom—Across America with the Migratory Beekeepers.
I wanted to write a book about Cape Cod, where I grew up, and that resulted in Giant Bluefin, a book about the bluefin tuna fishery in the U.S., published by FSG in 1995.
Giant Bluefin prompted an editor to write a letter suggesting I look into wooden boatbuilding in New England, which led me to a boatyard in Maine owned by the son of E. B. White, and to A Unit of Water, A Unit of Time—Joel White’s Last Boat.
When I moved to New Hampshire and lived near a dairy farm I became interested in the local veterinarian, who ran a mixed practice treating family pets and dairy cows. That led to A Country Practice.
I have written for The New York Times Book Review, the Boston Globe, Outside, Smithsonian, Reader’s Digest, Omni, New England Monthly, the Massachusetts Review, Discover, and Writer’s Chronicle.
From True Stories--A Century of Literary Journalism, by Norman Sims:
"An accomplished master of the literary journalism of everyday life is Douglas Whynott. He has written about beekeepers (Following the Bloom), fishermen (Giant Bluefin), a wooden boatbuilder in Maine (A Unit of Water, A Unit of Time: Joel White's Last Boat), and a veterinarian with a small practice in a tiny New Hampshire town (A Country Practice). No one gets killed in these books. People don't commit crimes. They aren't celebrities. Why should we be interested in these lives? They aren't any different from our own lives. Well, exactly...Whynott spends a great deal of time with people, discovers their narratives, and then structures his stories so readers can identify with the characters. In A Country Practice, for example, the young vet Erika Bruner represents the new person struggling to acquire knowledge and a workable attitude, then working hard to overcome her challenges. Each of us in our own way can identify with her feelings."