Stories, Essays, Books:
Frank Bures is the author of The Geography of Madness: Penis Thieves, Voodoo Death and the Search for the Meaning of the World’s Strangest Syndromes. He writes essays and narrative nonfiction for magazines. His work has been included in the Best American Travel Writing, selected as “Notable” in the Best American Essays and Best American Sports Writing and received other awards. More bio here. He does some occasional tweeting here. Or you can sign up for his news, stories, classes, etc. over at TinyLetter.
Praise for The Geography of Madness:
“With The Geography of Madness, Frank Bures has created a literary, thoughtful study that explores the connections between culture and psychology, storytelling and health. It’s also, to my knowledge, the most pleasant and least painful way to learn about penis theft.”
—Peter Hessler, author of Oracle Bones and Strange Stones
“Frank Bures has some of the widest (and wildest) curiosities of any writer out there. This is a man who truly wants to know the world, in all its strange and beautiful variations. He is fearless in his reporting, generous in his spirit, and brilliant in his prose. I would follow him anywhere.”
—Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love and The Signature of All Things
“Penis theft. Vampires. Black magic. These are not exactly prime ingredients for a hilarious, empathetic travel book, but Frank Bures has pulled off something incredible in The Geography of Madness. In demonstrating how culture-bound concepts of ‘madness’ and ‘sickness’ really are, he reminds us what we human beings have in common, which is to say, we’re all beautifully, fascinatingly nuts.”
—Tom Bissell, author of Extra Lives: Why Video Games Matter and Apostle: Travels Among the Tombs of the Twelve
Reviews and Interviews:
Rain Taxi: The Fluidity of the Human Brain
The Atlantic: The Diseases You Only Get if You Believe in Them
New Scientist: Stolen penises and other exotic psychological tales
The Guardian: Is your penis really shrinking?
The Australian: From penis thieves to voodoo: Geography of Madness
Toronto Globe and Mail: Penis thieves? Voodoo death? Frank Bures suggests such maladies aren’t all in our heads
Meaning of Life TV: Belief-boosted runners and the weird case of Coca-Cola poisoning
Class: Nonfiction Intensive: Building Your Portfolio (Online)
Over the course of eight weeks, we will work on two pieces of your choosing (essays, op-ed, travel, features, reviews, chapters, etc.) based on the direction you’d like to steer your writing career. Students will receive intensive feedback, and the class will focus on the practical skills of reporting, structuring, and selling your writing. Limited to eight applicants. Includes four hours of personalized manuscript critique from the teaching artist. Students should bring 5-10 story ideas to the first week of class. Sign up here.
Scientific American: Running Circles around Us: East African Olympians’ Advantage May Be More Than Physical
Undark: On the Body as Machine: Thinking of our bodies as machines has led to a militaristic approach to healthcare, which may not produce the best possible outcomes
Aeon: Dispatches from the ruins: The human world has become bafflingly complex and strangely fragile, making apocalypse the easiest thing of all to imagine
Lapham’s Quarterly: Origin Unknown: Anatoly Liberman’s quest for the history of lost words