Author Series: Kurt Eichenwald

As a part of the annual Author Series, Kurt Eichenwald visited Hockaday on Jan. 10.

New York Times bestselling author Kurt Eichenwald visited Hockaday on Jan. 10 as a part of the annual Author Series organized by the Academic Council.

Eichenwald shared his pearls of wisdom through numerous, meandering anecdotes, but his advice for aspiring writers could not be simpler: “Read, write and rewrite,” he said.

His own writing career started in his junior year on the St. Mark’s newspaper  The Remarker. He recalls writing a story about mini-school, also known as parent pop-in day. During an interview, Eichenwald told the Head of the Upper School that he hated what he was writing. With a phone call to the newspaper’s adviser, Eichenwald was approved to write a story about a cancer treatment that was controversial at the time, he said.

“It was the first real thing I ever wrote,” he said.

His first real jaunt into journalism paid off when he garnered a Dallas Morning News journalism award.

“I always give the Head of the Upper School Mike Shepherd a lot of credit because that one episode got this whole pathway started,” he said.

This pathway led to Eichenwald’s professional career as a journalist for The New York Times, Portfolio, and Vanity Fair. Following, he then made the transition to nonfiction author. Though his path has diverged from journalism, his books stemmed from core journalistic values.

“I obsess on the concept of fact and truth,” he said.

His nonfiction novels “Serpent on the Rock,” “The Informant” and “Conspiracy of Fools” unearth the truth beneath the facts of corporate scandal, while his latest book “500 Days” analyzes the Bush administration in the aftermath of 9/11.

To make an interesting story, Eichenwald said he always strives to create the perfect narrative arc. He has accomplished this in more ways than one. With his beginnings as a disenchanted Remarker reporter to a New York Times journalist to a bestselling author, it seems as though his life has had a narrative arc of its own.

-Mary Clare