Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Amy Ellis Nutt

Amy Ellis Nutt has been a staff writer at The Star-Ledger newspaper in Newark, NJ since November 1997. She is also an adjunct professor at Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.

Nutt was awarded the 2011 Pulitzer Prize for feature writing for her story “The Wreck of the Lady Mary,” which ran as a 20-page special section of The Star-Ledger in November 2010.

Her new book is Shadows Bright as Glass: The Remarkable Story of One Man's Journey from Brain Trauma to Artistic Triumph.

Earlier this month I asked Nutt what she was reading. Her reply:
Because I have such a short span of attention, I’m usually juggling two or three books at once. Often one of them is poetry, my first love. Right now I’m re-reading Late for Work by David Tucker. He’s actually one of my editors at The Star-Ledger and his lyricism always inspires me. From “Detective Story”:

A breeze smelling of the river enters the room though

no river is near; the house is quiet and calm for no reason;

the search does end, the detective finally does sleep, far away

from anything he imagined, his dusty shoes still on.

Two friends recently gave me Portraits of the Mind: Visualizing the Brain from Antiquity to the 21st Century by Carl Schoonover, to commemorate the publication of my own book. It’s both gorgeous and fascinating, beginning with a simple drawing, the oldest known depiction of the nervous system, from around 1027. The drawing includes, simply, a nose and two eyes, with hollow optic nerves traveling from each eye up into the brain. As the author writes: “From this unadorned sketch ... comes a premise that is so elementary as to seem almost trivial: In the nervous system, information travels.”
Learn more Shadows Bright as Glass and its author at Amy Ellis Nutt's website.

The Page 99 Test: Shadows Bright as Glass.

--Marshal Zeringue