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What I aspire to be is a magician whose contribution to the storytelling is invisible to the reader and regarded by the writer as a welcome act of wizardry.

Jan Winburn

Nonfiction Mentor

Jan Winburn is a fan of artful storytelling, kickass reporting and the powerful melding of the two.

Jan spent more than four decades working in newsrooms as a narrative editor, writing coach, and investigative editor and has led workshops around the world. Her career was recognized with the 2009 Mimi Award given to editors “who encourage journalistic excellence and understand the emotional landscape of assignments on tragedy and trauma.” Selected to be a Pollner Professor by the University of Montana, she taught a course on reporting and writing about trauma. Winburn edited Lisa Pollak’s 1997 Pulitzer Prize for Feature Writing, and her writers have won many of the other top prizes in journalism, including a Peabody Award, an Edgar R. Murrow Award, the Ernie Pyle Award for Human Interest Storytelling, the Al Neuharth Award for investigative journalism, the Wilbur Award for religion coverage, and the Batten Medal for public service. She is especially proud of two young journalists she worked with whose stories captured the prestigious Livingston Award for journalists under age 35. Jan grew up in a small town in Missouri and graduated from the University of Missouri School of Journalism. She is the author of “Shop Talk and War Stories: Journalists Examine Their Profession” and co-editor of two e-books, “Secrets of Prize-Winning Journalism 2013” and 2014.