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0000017a-15d9-d736-a57f-17ff8f330000NHPR’s 10-Minute Writer’s Workshop offered a peek into how great writers conjure and craft their work. From creative rituals to guilty distractions, writers revealed what it really takes to get pen to paper.After more than two years and 60 episodes, the 10 Minute Writer’s Workshop signed off in December 2017, to make room for new projects and podcasts. (But our author talks will continue to live online if you’re looking for a dose of inspiration).Thanks to everybody who listened and learned from the show!

10-Minute Writer's Workshop: Anatomical Historian Alice Dreger

Alice Dreger is a historian of science, anatomy, and medicine, known for her work studying and advocating for people born with atypical sex disorders. She famously resigned from Northwestern University in protest of academic censorship, and gained some infamy on Twitter for live-tweeting her son's sex education class. We had a delightful chat with her about her writing process in advance of the paperback release of her book, Galileo's Middle Finger: Heretics, Activists, and the Search for Justice in Science.


Credit Sara Plourde

What's harder to write - the first sentence or the last?

I think maybe the first sentence is harder, because I married a guy who double majored in chemistry and English, and he insists on really outstanding first lines. He holds up the best lines out of literature and makes me match them.

That's a pretty heavy standard.

It is. I hear from people that they love my opening lines, but that's because they're written ten thousand times over.

How much research do you have to do before you start?

I'm a historian, and historians  find that you can never end in terms of research. You can always ask the next
"well, why did that happen?...why did that happen?...why did that happen?" But eventually you  reach a point where you you have to tell the story, so I keep researching until I think I've got a really good sense of the truth of the story and when I've got enough to tell the story well.

Listen for the full interview!

Sara has been a part of NHPR since 2011. Her work includes data visualizations, data journalism, original stories reported on the web, video, photos and illustrations. She is responsible for the station's visual style and print design, as well as the user experience of NHPR's digital platforms.

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