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Douglas Whynott is an American writer who has written and published four critically acclaimed books. He writes what is considered to be literary journalism or narrative nonfiction. The subjects of his books range from migratory commercial beekeepers and the beekeeping industry, to the bluefin tuna fishery in New England, a boatyard in Maine, and a veterinary clinic in New Hampshire. In his early years Whynott worked as a dolphin trainer, fish curator, piano tuner, apiary inspector, track coach, and blues piano player.
Whynott was born in Hyannis, Massachusetts, in 1950. He worked as a piano tuner while attending college and was the concert tuner at the University of Massachusetts Amherst Fine Arts Center in Amherst, Massachusetts from 1976 to 1986. His first book, Following the Bloom, was begun as a graduate student when he worked for a summer as a Massachusetts apiary inspector, and met a commercial migratory beekeeper named Andy Card. His second book, Giant Bluefin, tells the story of two years in the giant bluefin tuna fishery on Cape Cod and New England, from the vantage point of harpoon boats and focusing on the economics of the fishery, the Japanese markets, and federal government stock assessments. A Unit of Water, A Unit of Time tells the story of the construction of three sailboats at a boatyard in Maine owned by Joel White, the son of E. B. White, and accounts for when White was creating his final masterpiece. A Country Practice tells the story of two years at a veterinary clinic in Walpole, New Hampshire. According to Norman Sims, writing in True Stories, a history of literary journalism, Whynott is “an acknowledged master of the literary journalism of everyday life.” Whynott has taught writing and literature at the University of Massachusetts, Mount Holyoke College, Columbia University, and is an associate professor of writing in the Writing, Literature and Publishing Program at Emerson College.
Whynott attended Dennis-Yarmouth High School in Yarmouth, Massachusetts. He attended New England College, the University of Stockholm, Sweden, and in 1977 received a BA in journalism from the University of Massachusetts. He received a master's degree in creative writing from the MFA Program for Poets & Writers at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst in 1985.
Whynott is the author of:
- Following the Bloom—Across America with the Migratory Beekeepers (1991)
- Giant Bluefin (1995)
- A Unit of Water, A Unit of Time—Joel White's Last Boat (1999)
- A Country Practice—Scenes from the Veterinary Life (2004)
- The Sugar Season: A Year in the Life of Maple Syrup, and One Family's Quest for the Sweetest Harvest (2014)
Whynott has written book reviews for The New York Times and Boston Globe, travel stories for Outside, Islands, and New England Monthly and articles about science and nature for Smithsonian and Discover. For the San Diego Reader he wrote about photographic archives, a study of the California Current, and the work of astronomers at Palomar Observatory. He wrote about a week aboard a cod trawler for New England Monthly, a heart transplant surgery for Reader’s Digest, an essay about nonfiction writing for Writer’s Chronicle, and his experience studying piano for Massachusetts Review.
Whynott is an eleventh generation Cape Codder, and now lives in Langdon, New Hampshire (population 688 in 2010).
Whynott studied piano and piano tuning, and for 15 years was a professional piano tuner in western Massachusetts. He played blues and jazz piano and formed the Whynott Boogie Trio after studying blues piano with Sammy Price, known as the king of boogie-woogie, in Harlem, New York.
- Whynott at Random House