To Think, To Write, To Publish (The First Iteration)

Fall 2009

The Idea is Hatched

Professors Lee Gutkind, David Guston, and Dan Sarewitz hatched a plan to bring wonks and writers together. The proposed workshop, “To Think, To Write, To Publish” was designed to begin to fill the need to connect science and technology policy (STP) scholars with communicators who could translate the substance and future of STP fields into a compelling style that could reach a broad audience of general readers. The idea of the workshop was focused on training the participants in a genre called “narrative nonfiction” or “creative nonfiction” so that they could collaborate to write narrative/creative nonfiction essays about STP-related issues.

May 16–19, 2010

To Think, To Write, To Publish is set in motion…

To Think, To Write, To Publish (TWP) was launched as an add-on to a previously arranged conference, “The Rightful Place of Science?,” created by Professors Dan Sarewitz and David Guston at Arizona State University’s Consortium for Science, Policy, and Outcomes (CSPO). “The Rightful Place of Science?” conference participants included 12 early career STP scholars; TWP selected 12 early career communicators—science writers, museum curators, humanities professors, journalists, poets and the like—to join them. Scholars and communicators were paired up to begin work on a two-year-long collaborative writing project.

January 28–30, 2011

Revision Workshop in Tempe, Arizona

The writer/scholar teams once again joined together in person for workshops and guided writing sessions which helped them further develop their narratives.

Spring, Summer, Winter, Fall 2011


Over the course of the year, four collaborative essays were published in Issues in Science and Technology—a publication of the National Academies of Science, Medicine and Engineering. Issues is a forum for discussion of public policy related to science, engineering, and medicine. This includes policy for science (how we nurture the health of the research enterprise) and science for policy (how we use knowledge more effectively to achieve social goals), with emphasis on the latter. This wasa groundbreaking step for a publication that until this point had never before published creative nonfiction writing.

To Think, To Write, To Publish (Now Called: Think Write Publish)

July 22, 2011

We Apply For More Funding

Professors Gutkind & Guston submitted a grant proposal to the National Science Foundation, seeking funding for a larger, more expansive iteration of To Think, To Write, To Publish. This time around, the proposal focused on connecting early career science writers and communicators with early career science and innovation policy (S&IP) scholars, who would work with editors from Creative Nonfiction magazine, who could add their editorial expertise and help the teams shape and craft their narratives in the process of writing. The proposal was approved.

Spring 2012

Worldwide Call For Applicants Goes Out

Within a matter of weeks, we received nearly 250 application packages from writers and scholars around the world.

October 3–7, 2012

DC Program

The new group of 24 Think Write Publish fellows convened in Bethesda, MD, for a week-long workshop that served as an intensive introduction to both the craft of narrative/creative nonfiction writing and ideas and concepts about policy. Scholars and writers were paired up and assigned mentors, most of whom had been participants in the first iteration of To Think, To Write, To Publish. Editors from Harper’s, Slate, Creative Nonfiction, National Geographic, and other magazines were present to help provide early developmental feedback to the newly-formed scholar/writer teams.

May 15–19, 2013

Revision workshop in Tempe, Arizona

In this weeklong workshop, collaborative teams worked together in person to craft and hone their narrative essays. They received help and feedback from their mentors, Lee Gutkind and David Guston, a Creative Nonfiction editor, and noted book agents and publishers.

Summer 2014


Nine of the twelve teams brought their ideas to the page and were published here in this digital publication. Selected essays were also published in the summer issues of Creative Nonfiction magazineand Issues in Science and Technology. The sharing of content between the two very different publications—a literary magazine and a policy journal—was yet another example of collaboration, and further evidence of the broad appeal of  narrative.

Summer, Fall 2014

On a Tour, On a Mission…

The Think Write Publish team embarked on a tour to share the work and the knowledge learned from this multi-year experiment. The team launched this website at the National Academy of Sciences in Washington, DC, with a kickoff event that included a free day-long workshop focusing on creative nonfiction techniques. The team will host similar events and workshops in Philadelphia, Phoenix, and San Francisco.

Creative nonfiction writing can help scholars and other professionals communicate complex and vital information and issues in accessible and even exciting and entertaining ways. We are on a mission to spread the word about the power of story—the power of communicating complex information in a way that is accessible, exciting and informative through creative nonfiction writing.