Advisory Board

Lee Gutkind

“A wild book — a crazy suspense story — fascinating stuff” — that’s how host Jon Stewart described Lee Gutkind’s new book, Almost Human: Making Robots Think, on The Daily Show (Comedy Central) recently, when Lee and Jon squared off in an amusing and enlightening conversation and debate.
Lee’s national TV appearance followed in-depth interviews on National Public Radio’s “Talk of the Nation”, BBC World,, and rave reviews from the Wall Street Journal and the Los Angeles Times. Almost Human: Making Robots Think (W.W. Norton), which is his 12th book, documents six years of off and on fly-on-the-wall observation of the students and faculty at the Carnegie Mellon Robotics Institute, as they imagine, design, build and test robots. It takes place in Pittsburgh, at NASA bases in the U.S. and in the Atacama Desert in Chile, the place on earth most like Mars.

Lee is founder and editor of the popular journal Creative Nonfiction, the first and largest literary journal to publish nonfiction exclusively, which is now celebrating its 14th year of publication. He is editor of The Best Creative Nonfiction, a new annual anthology and the forthcoming Keep It Real: Everything You Need to Know About Researching and Writing Creative Nonfiction, both from W.W. Norton. Vanity Fair Magazine proclaimed him “the Godfather” behind the creative nonfiction movement-an indisputable force whose efforts have helped make the genre the fastest growing in the publishing industry.
As a motorcyclist, a medical insider, a sailor, a college professor, a mid-life father and a literary whipping boy, Lee proved to be an unlikely success, as he explains in the explosive and hilarious essays collected in Forever Fat: Essays by the Godfather. And his immersion experiences into the motorcycle subculture, the organ transplant milieu and in other heretofore un-mined worlds about which he has written books, including robotics, along with the compelling literary techniques he has developed, has helped to create a new paradigm for writing about the world-the “literature of reality” that is creative nonfiction.
In celebration of his impact on the genre, In Fact: The Best of Creative Nonfiction, was published in 2004 by W.W. Norton. Book List called In Fact “an electrifying anthology … an exciting and defining creative nonfiction primer.” In Fact is now in its fourth printing.
All of Lees books have been praised for being simultaneously personal and universally informative. His award-winning Many Sleepless Nights, an inside chronicle of the world of organ transplantation, has been reprinted in Italian, Korean and Japanese editions. An Unspoken Art, a profile of veterinary medicine, was a Book-of-the-Month Club selection. The University of Southern Illinois Press re-issued his book (originally by Dial Press) about major league umpires, The Best Seat In Baseball, But You Have to Stand!, which USA Today called “unprecedented, revealing, startling and poignant.”
Former director of the writing program at the University of Pittsburgh and currently Professor of English there, Lee has pioneered the teaching of creative nonfiction, conducting workshops and presenting readings throughout the United States, Europe and Australia.
He founded the creative nonfiction program and MFA degree at the University of Pittsburgh, the first in the world. He helped found the low residency MFA program in creative nonfiction at Goucher College, and was director of the Mid-Atlantic Creative Nonfiction Writers’ Conference for 11 years. He is the director and founder of the 412 Creative Nonfiction Literary Festival, a citywide literary event that provides professional development to students and city residents and fosters the strength of the local writing community.
Lee frequently crosses genres as a writer, editor and reporter. He is a published novelist, an award-winning documentary filmmaker, and served as a consulting editor at National Public Radio in Washington, D.C. teaching narrative techniques to reporters, producers and editors on the Science Desk.
In 2004, he was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Letters from Chatham College.
In 2006 Creative Nonfiction, launched PodLit, a series of programs written, narrated and produced by Lee. Hear PodLit.
Read his LinkedIn profile.