Keep scrolling if you want the traditional writer’s bio stuff. I’d like to start out on a less formal note.
In the more than twenty years I’ve been word-slinging, I’ve been fortunate to write about a lot of different subjects. My earliest years were spent writing about agriculture, the height of exotica for a native New Yorker. This was so long ago (the late 1990s) that none of these pieces are available online — and since I was definitely learning on the job, this is probably for the best. I moved on to write about business, at American Demographics magazine where I was on staff, then blessedly back to freelancing where I belong, where I wrote a great deal for Bloomberg BusinessWeek, and then Inc., where I was a contributing editor (My entire Inc. oeuvre is apparently online.) I’ve written for women’s magazines, men’s magazines, travel magazines, literary magazines, newspapers, websites, blogs.
My favorite assignments are those that involve some combination of talking to people about things they’re the most passionate about, digging into complex topics, and exploring a new world. Might I interest you in reading a few of my favorite pieces?
Note: in several instances, I used my working title for the piece, not the one the publication gave it.
- Charleston: Southern Modernism? A revival of contemporary and modern design in a city that makes its name on the past. [Worth Magazine]
- Destination: Pittsburgh. Any story which allows me to use the phrase “ominous darkness” is automatically a favorite. A look at Pittsburgh’s past and future. [Worth Magazine]
- Should I Stay or Should I Go? Weighing the risk and rewards of travel to six places with dangerous reputations, political instability, or other yellow lights. [Worth Magazine.]
- Alison’s a Jewelry Fan Girl. Actual title: Unconventional Wedding Jewelry. Okay, I probably shouldn’t include this as a writing sample because it’s really short — not so many words. But despite the virtue of brevity, I used this as an excuse to talk to a number of my favorite jewelers for this piece, and it’s my portfolio so here it is. [Love Wins California.]
- Neighbors. I’ve been writing the Neighbor’s column for The Pearl magazine for a while now. These are mini profiles of people who live in an interesting neighborhood in Portland, Oregon. I especially liked this profile of an art gallery owner who specializes in works made by people with mental illness. [The Pearl Magazine]
- A Travel Guide to American Hypocrisy: A dramatic re-enactment of the first reading of the Declaration of Independence in Philadelphia, a woman who pioneered modern travel writing, and a park ranger in a pannier. [The Millions]
- A New New York, Just Up the Hudson: All that is in me does not cry out for the Hudson Valley — read the piece to understand this reference — but it’s still a lovely area in which to travel. [BBC]
- Here and Vow: The Engagement Shower. A marriage proposal that involved water, and the unique wedding plans that unfolded thereafter. [Love Wins Texas, more of my stories for this LGBT wedding magazine are here.]
- Here and Vow: Flight Interrupted. A marriage proposal at cruising altitude. [Love Wins California magazine]
- A Mule’s Errand: Visiting Kalaupapa Settlement, less sensitively known as “the leper colony,” in Hawaii. On the back of a mule named Koa who really, really didn’t like me. [Out Aloha]
- Not Pretty in Paris: A meditation on appearance anxiety in Paris, which is in some ways the story of a hair cut, but also a consideration of the Charles Garnier Opera, the history of mirrors, the nature of global franchising. [The Smart Set]
- The Ass Grab: In which I puzzle through a street harassment incident in Marrakech. [The Washington Post]
- My Venetian Crime Spree: In which I try to rip off Venice — and eventually feel her wrath. [The Toronto Star]
- Sin City’s Secret Virtue: Collecting rare books in Las Vegas [Robb Report]
- Your Name In Stickup Light Bulbs! A feature on infomercials. [New York Magazine]
- Naked, with a Passport: In which I learn the meaning of the word “naked”, in spas from Kerala, India, to Baden Baden, Germany. [The Travel Channel’s World Hum]
- The Heat Seeker: A five-part series on tracking down the spiciest food I could handle. [The Travel Channel’s World Hum, anthologized in Best Women’s Travel Writing 2010]
- Staring at the Evil Eye in Istanbul: Getting freaky with blue eye amulets in Istanbul. [Perceptive Travel]
- Lightness of Being: Coming to terms with a big change at a Mayan yoga retreat in Honduras. [Yoga Journal magazine.]
- Jewish Barbados – Tracking Down the Tribe: What is truth and what is fiction? [The Huffington Post]
- Winter Scuba: Learning to scuba dive in Roatan. [The Street]
- The Mobility Myth: In which I engage in a bit of cultural criticism. [Reason Magazine]
- Is He Dead? This memoir essay won a contest sponsored by the Rubin Art Museum. [Killing the Buddha]
- Montreal’s Smoked Meat: Here’s an example of what I did for About.com [ About.com Culinary Travel]
- The Temptation of Tourist Traps: Ambiance and quality — why so hard to have both? [About.com Culinary Travel]
- Sail French Polynesia: An example of what I did for Luxist. [Aol’s Luxist]
- Into the Wild In which I go backpacking in the Wyoming wilderness. On purpose. [Inc. Magazine]
- Fresh Air: Warsaw It wasn’t as bleak as I’d been expecting. [Business Traveler]
- Medieval Cold Medicine: I try to cook up an ancient cold medicine/candy. [The Atlantic’s Food Channel]
I serve on the faculty of Gotham Writers’ Workshop, and have very much enjoyed teaching.
I was the culinary travel editor for About.com from the site’s launch in 2009, until I got restless in 2013. I also spent about five years writing a weekly essay on travel, culture and more for Perceptive Travel.
I’ve also been a contributing editor at Inc. magazine, editor-at-large at American Demographics magazine, a New York Times Professional Fellow and a National Press Foundation Fellow. My articles have won awards from the American Society of Journalists and Authors and the American Society of Business Press Editors. I’ve given presentations on travel writing (and writing generally) for conferences including AWP, TBEX , and ASJA.
Some publications I’ve contributed to include:
American Archaeology, American Style, The Atlantic Monthly’s Food Channel, BBC Travel, Boston Magazine, Business Traveler, BusinessWeek, The Chicago Tribune, The Christian Science Monitor, The Chronicle of Philanthropy, Continental, Fast Company, Glamour, Huffington Post, Ladies’ Home Journal, Luxist, Men’s Journal, The Millions, Money, Mother Jones, New York Magazine, Premier Traveler, Psychology Today, Reason, Robb Report, Sierra Magazine, The Smart Set, The Street.com, The Toronto Star, The Travel Channel’s World Hum, US Air magazine, USA Weekend, The Washington Post, Working Mother, Worth, Yankee, Yoga Journal, among other places.
I started my career writing books, and am the proud author of Americans at Play, which is about trends in outdoor recreation and travel (New Strategist 1997) and Best of Health, which is about trends in health. (New Strategist, 2000).
Much of this work was published under the name Alison Stein Wellner. I am her, she is me.