Author and Assistant Professor Benoit Denizet-Lewis, of the Writing, Literature and Publishing Department, is participating in The Power of Narrative: Staying Savvy, Skilled, and Solvent in Journalism’s Wired Era, which is an academic and professional conference at Boston University this weekend, March 27–29.
Denizet-Lewis will give a solo presentation titled “Pervs, Freaks, and Outcasts: Writing Deeply Reported Narratives About Subcultures.” He will also appear in a panel discussion with Serial podcast narrator Sara Koenig about gaining access to sources and communities when conducting in-depth reporting.
Denizet-Lewis, who writes regularly for the New York Times Magazine, will discuss writing about people who are overlooked, ridiculed, or despised in society—including NAMBLA (North American Man Boy Love Association) members, transgender middle-school students, sex addicts, teen evangelicals, and men on the “down low.”
“I’ll be telling stories from my reporting,” Denizet-Lewis said, “and hopefully imparting some wisdom about how to break into seemingly closed off subcultures. That includes how to earn the trust of people who are used to getting burned by the media, and how to write about these groups in unpredictable, nuanced ways that try to get at the truth of their experiences.”
Denizet-Lewis has had a busy year. His book Travels with Casey made the New York Times’ Best Sellers List last August; and in January the film I Am Michael, which was adapted from an article he wrote for the Times Magazine, premiered at the Sundance Film Festival. The true-story film starred James Franco.