Jessica DuLong is an author, historian, book-doctor, book-coach, and collaborator who teaches narrative nonfiction with The Sackett Street Writers Workshop. Her most recent book, Dust to Deliverance: Untold Stories from the Maritime Evacuation on September 11 (McGraw-Hill), is the culmination of nearly a decade of reporting about the largest boat lift in history during which ferries, dinner boats, and other vessels spontaneously converged to rescue nearly 500,000 stranded people from Manhattan Island.

Her first book, My River Chronicles: Rediscovering the Work that Built America; A Personal and Historical Journey (Free Press), explores the value of hands-on work through memoir, history, and reportage. Lauded in The New York Times as “very fine and gutsy,” My River Chronicles won the 2010 American Society of Journalists and Authors Outstanding Book Award for memoir. DuLong is also a DONA-certified postpartum doula and a USCG-licensed merchant marine officer who serves as chief engineer aboard retired 1931 NYC fireboat John J. Harvey.

Following the publication of her first collaboration on infidelity and the brain science behind love and desire, DuLong is currently in the midst of multiple book collaboration projects on topics including: serious mental illness, the changing expectations of American manhood, a double-bottom-line investment strategy focused on solving the world’s biggest problems, and a memoir about an Iditarod dog-sled musher.

At the Gerard van Westerloo Lecture, DuLong will be speaking about what to do when traditional narrative methodologies don’t serve your story. Rooted in lessons learned from reporting and writing Dust to Deliverance, Jessica DuLong will discuss how to stitch together characters, exposition, and scenes to reveal a panoramic event in all its complexity. By tuning in to readers’ needs and curiosities, writers of narrative can put to good use the mind’s capacity to blend thematically linked details into a full, sweeping story.

​Practical information

  • Date: 20 december 2018
  • Time 19:30 – 20:00
  • Location: Pakhuis de Zwijger, Amsterdam
  • Tickets: €17,50 (regular) / €12,50 (Friends of the Initiative Narrative Journalism Netherlands and full time students – on presentation of a student card)
  • Tickets are for sale in our webshop

The yearly Gerard van Westerloo Lecture, made possible with financial support of the Gravin van Bylandt Stichting, pays homage to one of the founding fathers of narrative journalism in the Netherlands. Gerard van Westerloo applied four principles to his reporting: he chose everyday subjects, particularly when nothing out of the ordinary was happening; he waited as long as he needed to get a complete picture; he chose to speak to the subjects themselves (no spokespeople!); and those he interviewed got no coverage elsewhere.