Sarah Abbott and Philip Vannini’s co-written book chapter, “Academics Writing for a Broader Public Audience,” published in editor Patricia Leavy’s The Handbook of Arts-Based Research. The chapter offers excellent, insightful writing and dissemination tips through candid interviews with academic ethnographers whose books became bestsellers. We interviewed William Helmreich, City College of New York (The New York Nobody Knows Walking 6,000 Miles in the City); Jason DeLeón, UCLA (The Land of Open Graves: Living and Dying on the Sonoran Desert Migrant Trail); C.J. Pascoe, University of Oregon (Dude You’re a Fag); Andrew Walsh, Western University (Made in Madagascar); and Bradley Garrett, University of Sydney (Explore Everything: Place-Hacking the City).
Good writing is passionate, caring, and genuine. Writing builds relationships. It is driven by a desire to connect, move, inspire, inform, affect, please, entertain, and transform. … After highlighting a few common reasons why so much academic writing fails to engage readers beyond specialist audiences, we turn to the stories of five academic writers whose books have reached hundreds of thousands of people. (Vannini and Abbott, p. 603)
Vannini, P. & Abbott S. (2019). Academics writing for a broader public audience. In Leavy, P. (Ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Methods for Public Scholarship (pp. 603-622). New York: Oxford University Press.
Link to book here.
Book cover + header image: Artist unknown.