Why Me?

In my writing life, I am the author of two works of nonfiction including Uncommon Genius, which is a narrative look at how great ideas are born. (Viking, 1990, Penguin, ’91, ’01). Based on interviews with forty winners of the MacArthur Prize or so-called “genius award,” I pieced together a picture of the creative process in action.  My two-year blog was a continuation of my inquiry into the mechanics of the artistic process.  It was featured on Guy Kawasaki’s Alltop section on writing and cited in my award of an honorary doctorate of letters from the University of Vermont, 2012.

My essays and short stories have earned two Pushcart Prize nominations and have appeared in Creative Nonfiction, Crab Orchard Review, The Massachusetts Review, The Chariton Review, Puerto del Sol, The Distillery, Inkwell, The Baltimore Review, Confluence, The North Dakota Quarterly, Lalitamba Mandarim, Primer Stories, The Rumpus and other literary journals. Recent work (2018) made the semi-finals for the Mary C. Mohr Award and earned honorable mention at Glimmer Train.


Previous to my writing life, I pursued a career in law. With a J.D. and an LL.M., the latter attained on full fellowship, I worked first in human rights and then as a federal trial attorney – Southern District of New York, highly profiled headline cases, criminal defense. Competent Counsel, a nonfiction look at working with lawyers, drew from these years (Dodd, Mead, 1985).


I am a past member of the American Society of Journalists and Authors, the Authors Guild, and several bar associations. Today, I am an active member of my community and played a founding role in the creation of The Charlotte Library as well as Generator, Burlington Vermont’s downtown maker space.


Feel free to contact me with any questions. Here's one I know you have:

It's pronounced:

  • "shuh" - as in shut the door

  • "cur" -  as in courage

  • "gin" -  as in gin & tonic

  • Shekerjian ... shuh-cur-gin

... but call me Denise!

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© 2019 by Sam Madden