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My bottom line: Pay attention to sources as though you were falling in love with them; they’ll open right up without knowing why.

Patricia Thomas

Nonfiction Mentor

Patricia Thomas has been mentoring narrative nonfiction students in the MFA program since 2017, following 12 years as the founding director of the MA program in health and medical journalism at the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication.

Thomas held the Knight Chair in Health and Medical Journalism at UGA before becoming a Professor Emerita. Having grown up in a small town in Central Florida, she was eager to go elsewhere for college and earned degrees from UC Berkeley and Stanford. For more than three decades she worked as a reporter and editor in the San Francisco Bay Area, Atlanta and Boston, specializing in science, health, and medicine. She was a science writing fellow at MIT, the editor of Harvard Medical School’s consumer newsletter, and a visiting scholar at Boston University. Pat realized during her year at BU that she wanted to teach writers to become better storytellers. By that time, she had written a narrative nonfiction book of her own: Big Shot: Passion, Politics, and the Struggle for an AIDS Vaccine was published in 2001 and named a Washington Post notable book.