Past Projects: WRITTEN CONTENT
NONFICTION: In Pursuit of Giants: One Man's Global Search for the Last of the Great Fish
CHALLENGE: To tell the story to general audiences, scientists, environmentalists, and sportfishers, of how the ocean's great fish—marlin, bluefin tuna, and swordfish—have declined by 70-90% worldwide since 1950.
RESPONSE: STORYhouse founder Matt Rigney conducted five years of research and traveled over 75,000 miles around the world to craft an adventure-narrative and investigative nonfiction book. Locations included Nova Scotia, Mexico, Japan, the Mediterranean, South Australia, the Great Barrier Reef, and more than 200 miles off the coast of New Zealand.
OUTCOME: In Pursuit of Giants was published by Viking/Penguin in 2012. It received a starred review in Publishers' Weekly, which called it "a dramatic, transcendental tale." The book received blurbs from actor and ocean conservationist Ted Danson, three-time National Book Award-winning author Peter Matthiessen, and was reviewed in The Wall Street Journal by David Profumo, who wrote, "[Giants] deftly captures the wildness of the sea—the deep gleam of a shoal turning suddenly in the sunlight, the birdlike head of a striped marlin, spawning tuna 'blazing their milky contrails.'”
In 2012, Giants was nominated for the Massachusetts Book Award in Nonfiction.
Striving Readers Federal Grant
CHALLENGE: With only eight weeks' lead time, compete against school districts from across the United States for over $100 million in funding for a federal reading improvement research grant that mandated the use of random control trial parameters. Only eight slots available.
RESPONSE: STORYhouse founder Matt Rigney convened school district, vendor, and Brown University research team members to review and select intervention strategies and formulate a research design. Rigney wrote, edited, and delivered the federal reading improvement grant by deadline.
OUTCOME: Won $16.6 million in federal funding to conduct five years of research on reading improvement interventions in the Springfield, Massachusetts public schools using what the US Department of Education called "the gold standard" research design. Rigney was contracted with the district to provide management and communications services for the duration of the grant.
CHALLENGE: Assume the role of Senior Editor of a literary review and bring an issue to print on short notice.
RESPONSE: Over the course of three months, Holly solicited submissions and curated content for the scheduled issue; worked with authors to edit and prepare their poems, stories and essays; coordinated with the book designer and hired a cover artist; managed the production schedule; marketed the journal to bookstores; and shipped the journal to subscribers.
OUTCOME: Holly grew the number of overall submissions and engaged new authors in the creation of a 15th anniversary issue, as well as subsequent issues. She increased the attendance at readings by a factor of 400%, and created a social media presence. One of the poems she published later won a Pushcart Prize after appearing in Dunes Review.
Prayer for Time: A Memoir
CHALLENGE: Work with a former business executive and first-time author to develop a spiritual memoir about his experiences with cancer.
RESPONSE: Coached the writer over a nine-month period, from idea to completed manuscript; edited the final draft before connecting the writer with a book designer with experience in independent publishing. Strategized with the author and developed talking points in advance of media interviews.
OUTCOME: The book became a regional best-seller and the author has received invitations to give presentations to business and religious groups. He's currently working on his second book with Holly.