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New ASU book focuses on growing field of creative nonfiction

The Rightful Place of Science: Creative Nonfiction
February 23, 2015

ASU professor Lee Gutkind, a writer, teacher and storyteller, said he knew he'd hit a home run a few years ago when he brought together a group of writers and scholars, and watched as they created compelling, fresh narratives that conveyed complex scientific information.

As Gutkind's team of storytellers began to develop engaging creative nonfiction stories around science, technology and innovation policy, their efforts spawned the narratives in "The Rightful Place of Science: Creative Nonfiction," the most recent volume in the book series from Arizona State University's Consortium for Science, Policy & Outcomes (CSPO). 

Creative Nonfiction is also the name of the first and largest literary magazine to publish narrative nonfiction exclusively, of which Gutkind is editor. A CSPO faculty member, Gutkind said the need for good storytelling is significant.

"Stories make a lasting impact on a large and diverse readership," he said. "This book is part of what is being called ‘the new narrative’ – collaborations written by teams of next-generation creative nonfiction writers and policy scholars.”

According to Gutkind, creative nonfiction is the fastest-growing writing genre in the publishing world.

"It means true stories well told, communicating ideas and information in an accessible narrative form to enlighten general readers," he said. "We are witnessing the beginning of a worldwide narrative movement that will make a lasting impact on a large and diverse readership.”

Edited by Gutkind, David Guston (co-director of CSPO) and Michael L. Zirulnik, this collection of narrative essays presents expert knowledge about science, technology and innovation policy, without the use of buzzwords and jargon, and is fifth in the series, which launched in 2013.

Editor of the book series, ASU professor G. Pascal Zachary said the stories explore the complex interactions among science, technology, politics and society.

“The narratives in this new book examine important policy issues with depth and vigor,” said Zachary. “But – uniquely, in terms of policy discussions – these stories bring the human element of these issues to the fore, making them more nuanced and engaging.”

This volume, along with the previous books in "The Rightful Place of Science" series (Politics, Biofuels, Government & Energy Innovation and Disasters & Climate Change), are available in print and e-book editions in the United States and Europe via

The Consortium for Science, Policy & Outcomes is a research center in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.