Monday, January 21, 2013

This Week: Bill Streever on Storytelling and Science


You might have caught him on NPR’s Weekend Edition, explaining how fire walking is really a lot like tossing a hot potato and likening the crunch of hot coals under his feet to popcorn. Or maybe you caught the starred PW review of his recently released Heat: Adventures in the World’s Fiery Places: “Streever is able to mix the pop science, personal experiences, and historic asides into a fun and informative commentary on a subject that few people think about despite its inherent life and death implications.”

This week, you can meet author Bill Streever at a free event in Anchorage. A biologist and an avid outdoors enthusiast who dives, hikes, bikes, sails, and cross country skis whenever time allows, Streever is fast building an international reputation for his alchemy with science and words. His new book picks up where his bestseller Cold left off, taking readers from fever to fire to thermonuclear weapons to the quark-gluon soups that form at seven trillion degrees.

In pursuit of new angles on the seemingly ordinary, Streever goes where most of us can’t or won’t. Seasoned with engaging facts combed from copious research, his experiences become threads in narratives so engaging that they leave you wondering why you didn’t sign up for every science class in the catalog.

“I write creative nonfiction that leans toward science, and I am a biologist, but I am not a science writer,” Streever explains. “I am a story teller who finds material in the natural world and frames it in the context of science. I use a process that involves firsthand experience, interviews, reading, development of extensive searchable notes, invention of a very important organic outline, writing punctuated by pathological revision, reader feedback when I can get it, and a few other steps along the way.

On Wednesday, January 23, 49 Writers is hosting Bill Streever for a reading and craft talk on “Storytelling and Science.” The free event begins at 7 pm at the Great Harvest Bread Company at 570 East Benson Boulevard.

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