Lee Gutkind is an American writer, speaker, and literary innovator, founder of the literary magazine Creative Nonfiction, the first and the largest literary journal to publish narrative/creative nonfiction exclusively. Spotlighted in Vanity Fair Magazine in 1997 as “the Godfather behind creative nonfiction”, Gutkind has been its most active advocate and practitioner both as editor and writer.
Gutkind has written or edited more than 30 books, immersing himself in diverse worlds, sometimes for months or years, to produce creative nonfiction portraits about subjects such as the motorcycle subculture, child and adolescent mental illness, baseball umpires, veterinary medicine and organ transplantation.
Currently he is Distinguished Writer in Residence at the Consortium for Science Policy and Outcomes and Professor at the School for the Future of Innovation in Society at Arizona State University.
Gutkind was born in 1945 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and educated at the University of Pittsburgh. After high school and service in the United States Coast Guard, he worked his way through the University of Pittsburgh as a truck driver, traveling shoe salesman and public relations account executive, traveling throughout the country promoting the Helium Centennial for the U.S. Department of the Interior. After his first book was published, Bike Fever, which profiled the motorcycle subculture, he joined Pitt’s Department of English where he became the first tenured professor at the university without an advanced degree.
His immersion experiences into the motorcycle subculture, the organ transplant milieu, baseball umpires, and in other un-mined worlds about which he has written, along with the literary techniques he has developed, has helped to create a new paradigm for writing about the world — the “literature of reality” that is creative nonfiction.
Gutkind is founder and editor of Creative Nonfiction, the first and largest literary magazine devoted to nonfiction narrative. He is also editor of Best Creative Nonfiction, an annual anthology of creative nonfiction. Gutkind is author of You Can't Make This Stuff Up: The Complete Guide to Writing Creative Nonfiction, From Memoir to Literary Journalism and Everything In Between. Gutkind has written 15 books, and edited 18 collections and volumes. In celebration of his impact on the genre, In Fact: The Best of Creative Nonfiction, was published in 2004 by W.W. Norton. Book List called In Fact “an electrifying anthology . . . an exciting and defining creative nonfiction primer.” 
Vanity Fair Magazine proclaimed Gutkind “the Godfather” behind the creative nonfiction movement, and Harper’s Magazine noted that he is “the leading figure behind the creative nonfiction movement.”
When Gutkind began pioneering creative nonfiction, few if any university creative writing programs offered courses or degrees, but he saw creative nonfiction as a way of connecting students with the real world through what he called “the literature of reality.” Today, poets, novelists, journalists, playwrights recognize the art and challenge of creative nonfiction, capturing their lives and the lives of others through memoir, biography and other forms of documentary drama. Gutkind helped found MFA programs in narrative and creative nonfiction at Pitt and subsequently at Goucher College in Maryland.
With Creative Nonfiction magazine, Gutkind has introduced the literature of reality to a new set of practitioners—scientists, engineers, policy scholars, mathematicians, roboticists, philosophers—outstanding men and women– innovators and scholars. At Arizona State University, he founded the ThinkWritePublish program, supported by The National Science Foundation (Science in Society) and the Templeton Foundation (True Stories About Science and Religion).
Gutkind has presented his “True Stories That Matter” techniques ideas to record-breaking audiences at the National Press Club in Washington, to scientists and engineers at the National Academy of Science, to advocates at Earth Justice, to teachers and administrators at the Institute for Learning, to scholars at the International Design Frontiers national conference, to the Council on Healthcare Economics and Policy at Princeton University–and to librarians, museums and creative writing programs—from China, to Australia to the Middle East.
Gutkind founded the creative nonfiction program and MFA degree at the University of Pittsburgh, the first in the world. He helped found the low residency MFA program in creative nonfiction at Goucher College, and was director of the Mid-Atlantic Creative Nonfiction Writers’ Conference at Goucher for 11 years. He was the director and founder of the 412 Creative Nonfiction Literary Festival for four years, a citywide literary event that provides professional development to students and city residents and fosters the strength of the local writing community. Gutkind also served as the Virginia G. Piper Distinguished Writer in Residence at Arizona State University in 2007-2008.
Lee Gutkind's list of honorary achievements include: The Steve Allan Individual Award, by United Mental Health, Inc; Chancellor's Award for Public Service; Meritorious Service Award by American Council on Transplantation; Howard Blakeslee Award by the American Heart Association for "outstanding journalism; Golden Eagle Award by CINE, for the film A Place Just Right; Recipient of National Endowment of the Arts Creative Writing Fellowship. In 2004, Gutkind was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Letters from Chatham College.
Lee Gutkind’s books have been praised for being simultaneously personal and universally informative. His award-winning Many Sleepless Nights, an inside chronicle of the world of organ transplantation, has been reprinted in Italian, Korean and Japanese editions. An Unspoken Art, a profile of veterinary medicine, was a Book-of-the-Month Club selection. His book about major league umpires, The Best Seat In Baseball, But You Have to Stand!, was called by USA Today "unprecedented, revealing, startling and poignant."
You Can’t Make This Stuff Up: The Complete Guide to Writing Creative Nonfiction, From Memoir to Literary Journalism to Everything in Between, is “reminiscent of Stephen King’s fiction handbook On Writing,” according to Kirkus Review — "An accessible, indispensable nonfiction guidebook from an authority who knows his subject from cover to cover.”
Gutkind frequently crosses genres as a writer, editor and reporter. He is a published novelist, an award-winning documentary filmmaker, and served as a consulting editor at National Public Radio in Washington, D.C. teaching narrative techniques to reporters, producers and editors on the Science Desk. Also as the former director of the writing program at the University of Pittsburgh, Lee Gutkind pioneered the teaching of creative nonfiction, conducting workshops and presenting readings throughout the United States, Europe, Australia and Israel.
|Show Me All Your Scars: True Stories of Living With Mental Illness||Introduction by Patrick J. Kennedy, and foreword by Dr. Karen Wolk Feinstein.||In Fact Books||2016||ISBN
|What I Didn’t Know: True Stories of Becoming a Teacher||In these twenty personal narratives, teachers provide us with a fascinating insight into a profession that touches us all.||In Fact Books||2016||ISBN
|Same Time Next Week: True Stories of Working Through Mental Illness||These dramatic narratives communicate clearly the rewards of helping patients move forward with their lives, often through a combination of medication, talk therapy, and common sense. Collectively, these true stories highlight the need for empathy and compassion.||In Fact Books||2015||ISBN
|Oh, Baby: True Stories About Conception, Adoption, Surrogacy, Pregnancy, Labor, and Love||Co-edited with Alice Bradley. Introduction by Lisa Belkin.||In Fact Books||2015||ISBN
|The Rightful Place of Science: Creative Nonfiction||Contributing authors: Michael Zirulnik; Lee Gutkind; David Guston; Elizabeth Popp Berman; Adam Briggle; Roberta Chevrette; Gwen Ottinger; Angela Records; Meera Lee Sethi; Sara Wehlchel; Rachel Zurer; Ross Carper; Sonja Schmid||Consortium for Science, Policy, & Outcomes||2015||ASIN
|For the Love of Baseball: A Celebration of the Game That Connects Us All||Co-edited by Andrew Blauner. Introduction by Yogi Berra.
United by the authors’ fervent love of the game, each chapter in this book reminds us of the unique role baseball plays in our national history and collective imagination.
|Southern Sin: True Stories of the Sultry South and Women Behaving Badly||Co-edited with Beth Ann Fennelly. Introduction by Dorothy Allison.||In Fact Books||2014||ISBN
|True Stories Well Told: From the First 20 Years of Creative Nonfiction Magazine||Co-edited with Hattie Fletcher. Introduction by Susan Orlean.||In Fact Books||2014||ISBN
|Writing Away the Stigma: Ten Courageous Writers Tell True Stories About Depression, Bipolar Disorder, ADHD, OCD, PTSD and More||In this collection, ten writers confront the stigma of mental illness head-on, bravely telling stories of devastating depressions, persistent traumas, overwhelming compulsions, and more.||In Fact Books||2014||ISBN
|Creating Nonfiction: Lessons From the Voice of the Genre||Co-edited with Robyn Jodlowski. Contributing authors: Roy Peter Clark, Megan Foss, Steven Harvey, Lisa Knopp, Bret Lott, Hilary Masters, Susan Messer, Natalia Rachel Singer||In Fact Books||2013||ASIN
|I Wasn’t Strong Like This When I Started Out: True Stories of Becoming a Nurse||True stories of becoming a nurse.||In Fact Books||2013||ISBN
|True crime: Real-life Stories of Abduction, Addiction, Obsession, Murder, Grave-robbing, and More||In Fact Books||2013||ISBN
|Great Baseball Stories: Essays, Ruminations, and Nostalgic Reminiscences on Our National Pastime||Co-edited with Andrew Blauner, with foreword by Yogi Berra.||Skyhorse Publishing||2012||ISBN
|At the End of Life: True Stories About How We Die||Foreword by Francine Prose.||In Fact Books||2012||ISBN
|Becoming a Doctor: From Student to Specialist, Doctor-Writers Share Their Experiences.||Personal narratives from those who have gone through the process of becoming a doctor.||W.W. Norton & Co.||2011||ISBN
|Twelve Breaths a Minute: End of Life Essays||Twenty-three original, personal narratives that examine the way we as a society care for the dying.||Southern Methodist University Press||2011||ISBN 978-0-87074-571-3|
|Becoming a Doctor: From Student to Specialist, Doctor-Writers Share Their Experiences||(CNF description) Physicians recount personal stories from their lives in white coats in this inspired anthology by new and known writers. These original stories reveal the inner lives of the men and women who are often rendered invisible by their white coats.||W.W. Norton||2010||ISBN 978-0-393-33455-5|
|The Best Creative Nonfiction, Vol. 3||A third special issue of Creative Nonfiction that features twenty-five essays that originally appeared in alternative publications, blogs, literary journals, and other publications.||W.W. Norton||2009||ISBN 978-0-393-33025-0|
|The Best Creative Nonfiction, Vol. 2||A second special issue of Creative Nonfiction that features twenty-nine essays that originally appeared in alternative publications, blogs, literary journals, and other publications.||W.W. Norton||2008||ISBN 978-0-393-33024-3|
|Anatomy of Baseball||Twenty new and classic essays about the American past time.||SMU Press||2008||ISBN 978-0-87074-522-5|
|Keep It Real: Everything You Need to Know About Researching and Writing Creative Nonfiction||Provides writers with the working parameters of the creative nonfiction genre||W.W. Norton||2008||ISBN 978-0-393-06561-9|
|Silence Kills: Speaking Out and Saving Lives||Twelve new essays written by physicians, patients, and family members. Explores the communication breakdown in the current American health care system||SMU Press||2007||ISBN 978-0-87074-518-8|
|The Best Creative Nonfiction, Vol. 1||A special issue of Creative Nonfiction that features twenty-seven essays that originally appeared in alternative publications, blogs, literary journals, and other publications.||W.W. Norton||2007||ISBN 978-0-393-33003-8|
|Hurricanes and Carnivals: Essays by Chicanos, Pochos, Pachucos, Mexicanos, and Expatriates||Originally published as Issue 23 of Creative Nonfiction, this book features fifteen essays that push the boundaries between fact and fiction.||The University of Arizona Press||2007||ISBN 978-0-8165-2625-3|
|Our Roots are Deep with Passion: `Creative Nonfiction` Collects New Essays by Italian American Writers||Twenty-one essays written by established and emerging writers that explore the unique intersections of language, tradition, cuisine, and culture that characterize the diverse experience of Americans of Italian heritage.||Other Press||2006||ISBN 978-1-59051-242-5|
|Rage & Reconciliation: Inspiring a Health Care Revolution||Originally published as issue 21 of Creative Nonfiction, the book includes new essays and an 80- minute CD containing three essays read by professional actors and a panel discussion of the ethical dimensions of the issues raised. Produced in conjunction with Pittsburgh's Jewish Healthcare Foundation, writers tackle health care in America, including problems of patient rights and professional responsibility.||SMU Press||2005||ISBN 0-87074-503-4|
|In Fact: The Best of Creative Nonfiction||Twenty-five essays, all originally appearing in Creative Nonfiction, republished in honor of the journal's tenth anniversary.||W.W. Norton||2005||ISBN 0-393-32665-9|
|On Nature: Great Writers on the Great Outdoors||Twenty original and previously published essays||Jeremy P. Tarcher||2002||ISBN 1-58542-173-1|
|Healing: 20 Prominent Authors Write About Inspirational Moments of Achieving Health and Gaining Insight||Twenty original and previously published essays||Jeremy P. Tarcher||2001||ISBN 1-58542-079-4|
|Lessons in Persuasion: Creative Nonfiction/Pittsburgh Connections||Eighteen essays written by writers with ties to the city of Pittsburgh.||University of Pittsburgh Press||2000||ISBN 0-8229-5715-9|
|Connecting: Twenty Prominent Authors Write About the Relationships That Shape Our Lives||Twenty original and previously published essays||Jeremy P. Tarcher/Putnam||1998||ISBN 0-87477-904-9|
|A View from the Divide: Creative Nonfiction on Health and Science||Seventeen essays that attempt to demonstrate the many ways in which aspects of the scientific world—from biology, medicine, physics, and astronomy—can be captured and dramatized for a humanities-oriented readership.||University of Pittsburgh Press||1998||ISBN 978-0-8229-5685-3|
- Lee Gutkind's Website
- Contemporary Authors Online. The Gale Group, 2007. PEN (Permanent Entry Number): 0000040630.