In 1991, Samuel G. Freedman, a professor at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, began offering a book writing seminar. The purpose of the class is to produce a proposal for a narrative nonfiction book. Not just anyone can get in. Late in the fall semester, aspiring students pitch their ideas to Freedman -- only the first 16 or so who offer what he considers a viable concept are allowed entry.
The seminar produced its first success in its first year -- Leah Hager Cohen. Her first book, Train Go Sorry was born of a proposal developed in the seminar. Since then, Cohen has gone on to write six more books, three novels and three works of nonfiction. Success continued to follow. On January 27, 2009, Freedman announced the 50th book contract to come directly from his seminar -- to Molly Birnbaum for a work entitled In Search of Smell.
The purpose of this site is to commemorate the achievements of Freedman's seminar and to introduce others to the authors whose careers it has launched.