Russ Rymer is an independent journalist and author who writes about subjects as varied as science, politics, and the arts. His first book, Genie: An Abused Child’s Flight from Silence (HarperCollins, 1993), earned him a Whiting Writers’ Award and was a National Book Critics Circle Award finalist. His second book, American Beach: A Saga of Race, Wealth, and Memory (HarperCollins, 1998), was nominated for a Los Angeles Times Book Prize and was named a New York Times Notable Book.
At Radcliffe, Rymer will complete his third book, Out of Pernambuco (Houghton Mifflin, forthcoming), which portrays an environmental crisis besetting classical music. Pernambuco, a wood that grows in Brazil’s diminishing coastal forests, is the only material from which a performance-level violin, viola, or cello bow can be made. The pernambuco tree is endangered, imperiling both classical music performance and one of the last old-world crafts to survive the industrial age.
Rymer has written for the Atlantic Monthly, Harper’s, National Geographic, the New Yorker, the New York Times, and other publications. He has edited for the New York Academy of Sciences and the American Association for the Advancement of Science and served as executive editor of Portland Monthly and editor-in-chief of Mother Jones. He has taught science writing at the California Institute of Technology, the University of California at Berkeley, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Graduate Program in Science Writing. He was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2002.