The Biographers

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Scott McCredie writer/editor

I grew up in the Northwest, splitting my childhood between a small logging town in Oregon and the suburbs of Bellevue, Washington. After earning a degree in journalism from the University of Washington in
1977, I went on to write for Smithsonian Magazine, Reader’s Digest, the Seattle Times, the Washington Post, and many others. I recently wrote a science/health book, published by Little Brown, that was reviewed by the New York Times Book Review.

I also write biographies of so-called “ordinary” people, and these are among the most fun and engaging projects I do.

The idea germinated about a decade ago when I asked my dad and mom some questions about their relatives that they couldn’t answer. Like many people, I wasn’t able to learn much about the generations older
than my grandparents. The only remnants of their histories were a few faded photos, and the barest outlines of their lives that I had heard over the years.

When my Great Aunt Velma died, it struck me that buried with her was much of the history of my father’s side of the family.

I had always meant to record her life story, but just never found the time to do it. I vowed not to let that happen with my 80-something grandmother, who was also the last of her generation.

She was thrilled that I wanted to write her biography. I sat for hours as I recorded her tales of life in the old country, how she emigrated to the United States with her brothers and a sister, the hardships, the dreams, meeting my grandfather, raising my mother. I had heard some of the stories before, but there were some that not even her children had known about.

When I showed the finished biography to other family members, they were immensely grateful. I realized then that other families interested in knowing and preserving their history might also appreciate this kind of service.

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Peggy Sturdivant writer/editor

I have been collecting oral histories and turning them into written accounts since I was a teenager. I used to sit up late with my grandmother as she told me about her life, and many years later I wove her tales into fictional stories I wrote.

After a career in environmental consulting and science education, I have been a full-time freelance journalist and writing facilitator for nearly a decade. I write a weekly column called “At Large in Ballard” that often profiles the extraordinary lives of people we might otherwise take for granted. My interviews are part of the publication “Voices of Ballard: Immigrant Stories from the Vanishing Generation” and available on HistoryLink.org.

I also work directly with those interested in telling their own story, facilitating writing workshops at Cancer Lifeline, Horizon House Retirement Community and in my own home. Many of my students have bloomed through the process of writing their stories, sharing their writing with family or publishing it for a broader audience.

I am also co-author of the non-fiction book “Out of Nowhere” a behind-the-scenes look at the path of near tragedy for a young woman named Maria Federici, through her recovery and the resulting reform in national transportation laws. I conducted over 60 interviews while writing this book, enabling me to share stories of everyday heroism. I contribute essays to several other publications and organize literary events in the community.

In my columns I attempt to give a glimpse into a person’s life. I would love to work with you to capture the stories of your life, the tales that will keep future generations turning the pages of your book, entranced.

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