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DSC00613I am a writer and editor based in the San Francisco Bay Area. At the right are links to a selection of articles for leading magazines, online publications and newspapers.

SELECTED OUTLETS: San Francisco Chronicle (and its magazine), The Guardian, Smithsonian Magazine, Los Angeles Times, San Francisco magazine, Sierra, Sunset, Wine Enthusiast, Report on Business, Toronto Life, Via, Globe & Mail, Walrus, Daily Beast. (The Muckrack assembly of some of my pieces.)

As a journalist, I’ve ranged over a wide territory, writing long-form stories on business and tech, on travel, the arts and the law — the last, because I’m a former lawyer. After leaving the practice, I worked as an editor and columnist at Toronto Life magazine and a producer at the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation — together a decade in these in-house roles. I left the CBC when we moved from Toronto to the Bay Area, and now contribute to a variety of publications. I’ve studied literature at Dartmouth College (A.B.) and Trinity College (Dublin) (M.Phil.) and law at the University of Toronto (J.D.).

FICTION: A novel, Until It Shimmers, is due out from Ace of Swords in 2022, with a second, Paddle to the Sea, to follow in 2023.

WRITING CLASS: This is the syllabus of a travel writing class I recently taught at Stanford.

LOST HORIZON: This is a feature for Sunset magazine, about a trip David and I took to a wilderness lodge on Vancouver Island. The piece has earned a place in the new anthology Travel Stories of Wonder and Change (left). I recently read from the piece in a short segment on NPR’s All Things Considered.

TALES OF THE CITY: I’m currently working on Oldest San Francisco for Reedy Press, a book that will look at the city’s oldest bars and bookstores, its first orphanage and lending library, its longest-serving restaurants and cinemas. It aims to tell aspects of the city’s story through its longstanding institutions.


Cover Stories: I recently wrote two cover stories for magazines I’ve contributed to for some time: For Report on Business magazine, a profile of Netflix CMO Kelly Bennett, the ad man who helped the streaming service hit its current heights and then walked away — viz, “Netflix then Chill.” And I wrote, for Sunset magazine, a travel piece on a nostalgia-inducing vacation to a lake in Oregon. (Those covers feature below.)

On Nature: A feature for Sierra magazine on the crash of the monarch butterfly population in the West — a lament and a whodunnit.

On Statues Tumbling: A think-piece written in the wake of the statues of former slave-owners, explorers, presidents past and missionaries coming off their perches, in San Francisco and beyond.

On Books: Early on, in the lockdown, I wrote a piece on fiction and non-fiction about plagues past — how some of us weathered (and others didn’t) the mass illnesses that have afflicted us over the years. Also: Four columns on young-adult fiction: one on graphic novels dealing with trauma; another on those with LGBT protagonists; a third on books about the lives of girls and young women; a fourth on young people looking for love. I contributed to the list the Globe did of the top 100 books of 2020.

On Tech: For Report on Business magazine, an overview of developments in the Internet of Things. For the San Francisco Chronicle, a piece on a YMCA boot-camp group that took their workouts virtual after the first shelter-in-place orders were issued. For the Globe, a story on the emerging rituals of the virtual party.

On Politics: For San Francisco magazine, a short profile of California’s newish Lieutenant-Governor Eleni Kounalakis.

On Food and Drink: A piece for Wine Enthusiast magazine on a historic Oakland dive bar, Merchant’s Saloon, trying to weather this storm. And one on a Covid-lock-down comfort, cheese fondue, on its history and how, in the 1970s, the dish moved from being an Alpine specialty to a global phenomenon.


Two pieces have lately resurfaced: a profile of Stewart Butterfield which came back when he sold his office communications software company Slack to Salesforce for a whopping $27.7 billion, and one of the actor Christopher Plummer, who just died. It was written when he was about to play Prospero, a decade ago. Not his swan song, he said, and he was right — he had an Oscar yet to win, playing against his usual imperious type in Mike Mills’s sweet Beginners.


13: National Magazine Award nominations for articles in categories including Profiles, Society, Arts & Entertainment, Columns and Business —  three silvers, ten honorable mentions. Never yet, a gold, but I live in hope.

1:  North American Travel Journalists’ Association gold for a piece for enRoute on Germany’s car city.

1: Bay Area Travel Writers’ Best of 2016 award for a piece in the Globe & Mail on San Francisco’s tough, historic Tenderloin district.

1: Eureka! Award for Best Newspaper Travel Piece re: California, also for the Tenderloin article.

2: Writing awards from the Council for Advancement and Support of Education for pieces in the University of Toronto magazine, a gold for a story on an early aviation pioneer and a silver for one on an influential literary critic.

1: A gold for the aviation-pioneer piece from the Canadian Council for the Advancement of Education.

SOCIAL MEDIA: My instagram handle is @only_connect. Twitter is @Alec_Scott.

* Winners of writing awards

** Anthologized pieces