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Rinker Buck

What Makes a Writer?

The author Rinker Buck has noticed that other writers often ascribe their success to lofty, pretentious factors. But Buck believes it is the prosaic, even embarrassing events of youth that send aspiring writers on their way. He will talk about how to “screw up and become a hero.”

As a kid, he read all the books in his father’s library and distinguished himself against his 10 brothers and sisters by quoting them to his father’s friends. As a young journalist, it never occurred to him to be polite to the powerful people he wrote about, or to his editors. He says he was an obnoxious emerging young writer—a competent wordsmith who presented constant disciplinary problems. 

His books are “Life on the Mississippi: An Epic American Adventure” (2022), “The Oregon Trail: A New American Journey” (2015) and “Flight of Passage” (1997).”

Buck graduated from Bowdoin College.