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Writer, reporter, editor, teacher 

 

About Stephanie Schorow
A journalist, author, writing instructor, clay artist, avid gardener and cat lover.

 

Author of Nonfiction and Fiction

 
I am the author, co-author or editor of nine nonfiction books, including: A Boston Harbor Island Adventure; The Great Boston Fire: The Inferno that Nearly Incinerated the CityInside the Combat Zone: The Stripped Down Story of Boston's Most Notorious Neighborhood; Drinking Boston: A History of the City and Its Spirits, and, with co-author Beverly Ford, The Boston Mob Guide: Hit Men, Hoodlums & Hideouts. 

 

My novel, Cat Dreaming, was published in November 2023 by Small Town Girl Publishing. A narrative set in the 1980s, the book follows the fortunes of four women and their relationship with each other, their lovers and their cats. Not exactly Chick Lit. Call it Kit Lit. See interview here.

 

In November 2022, History Press published an update of my previous book on the Cocoanut Grove nightclub fire. The new book, The Cocoanut Grove Nightclub Fire: A Boston Tragedy, contains new information, photos and other details of this 1942 inferno that affected fire codes, burn and lung treatments, manslaughter law and other issues. 


See Works

 

My short story published in Potato Soup, a fiction web site, was selected for the 2020 anthology. See here.

 

You can find my books on my Amazon page  and Bookshop.org

 

  

Teaching 
Beginning in fall 2023, I teach undergraduate media writing courses as a full-time instructor for the College of Communication at Boston University. I have taught writing and editing courses at Lasell University, Regis College, Lesley University, Newbury College, Emerson College, and the Cambridge Center for Adult Education. In July 2023, I was among the faculty for a Summer Journalism Intensive Program for high school juniors and seniors at  Boston University. I also taught workshops on writing nonfiction, soup to nuts, and promoting your nonfiction work at the Cape Cod Writers Conference in Hyannis in August 2023. 

 

Freelance Journalism 

 I freelance on a variety of topics, from technology to lifestyle and travel to health to general features. For five years, I coordinated a Citizens Journalism program for United Media Arts in Malden, Mass. 

 

Communications

For four years I worked as a communications writer for Ariadne Labs, a joint center for health systems innovation at Brigham and Women's Hospital and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. I wrote newsletter content, media release, blogs and op-eds as well as participated in overall strategy meetings. 

 


See for more details, see: Biography.

PRESENTATIONS IN MARCH 

I was invited to "explain" about the Combat Zone on this podcast about Boston. It takes a while to get to my bit but Lee gave me lots of time. Lee was a lovely interviewer as well. This was tons of fun. I mean, talking about naughty sex is always fun.

 

See Explain Boston to Me with Lee Stabert. 

 

 

In this week's episode is all about the Combat Zone, Boston's erstwhile vice district located right in the heart of the city. To talk peep shows, strip clubs, neon signs, and organized crime, we're joined by writer Stephanie Schorow, author of Inside the Combat Zone: The Stripped Down Story of Boston's Most Notorious Neighborhood, along with many other books on local history.
 

A Boston Harbor Islands Adventure: The Great Brewster Journal of 1891

 

From the back cover:

In 1891, four intrepid women from Lowell, Massachusetts, sailed to a remote island in Boston Harbor for a 17-day escape from New England's prim and proper society. Calling themselves the Scribe, the Aristocrat, the Acrobat and the Autocrat, the women stayed in a cottage on Great Brewster Island, reveling in the chance to shed their identities of wife, mother and daughter. Relive their sojourn through their remarkable journal – which is in the collection of Harvard University –  filled with observations, illustrations, photography and poetry, reproduced by the Friends of the Boston Harbor Islands. 

 

NOTE: I am beginning to schedule presentations on this remarkable document. The lavishly illustrated presentations will explore the Boston Harbor Islands and the lives of 19th Century women – how they dressed and what they read and even what they ate. Additionally, I will share how we researched this journal, which can be a model for other enterprising authors. Please email me at sschorow (at) comcast (dot) net for more information. 

 

ORDER HERE OR GO TO YOUR LOCAL BOOKSTORE. 

 

WGBG did a great story on this here.

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Recent media
 

How Boston's Cocoanut Grove fire changed the nightclub experience 

WBUR Radio Boston interview on The Cocoanut Grove Fire 

 

Remembering Boston's Great Fire of 1872
Historians commemorate the 150th anniversary of the massive blaze

The Boston Globe on  the Great Boston Fire

 

Ceremony to be held marking 80th anniversary of Cocoanut Grove nightclub fire; mysteries — and myths — persist years later 

 The Boston Globe on the Cocoanut Grove Fire

 

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Please see EVENTS for upcoming talks.

See WORKS for information on my books.

More news, interviews and good stuff

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Reading from The Great Boston Fire 

I was extremely honored to read from my Great Boston Fire Book during the Boston Book Festival on Saturday, Oct. 29, at the Boston Public Library in a panel from 12:15 to 1:30 p.m. See schedule here.

Sigining a copy of A Boston Harbor Islands Adventure on a OLLI boat trip in Boston Harbor, June 14, 2023

A Book on the T 

 Vamping it up on the T 

Two years ago, I was privileged to have Inside the Combat Zone chosen to be a Book on the T. This is a great program that encourages reading on the go -- what we used to do before mobile phones! I had a great time dressing up a bit for this and dropping off a copy of the book.

Here are the details from the web site: http://booksonthet.com/about

About Books on the T

Books on the T launched in the spring of 2017 to engage the community in promoting literacy and encourage excitement about reading across the Boston metro area. By sharing new titles for adults and youth on the MBTA, Books on the T will create a traveling library that introduces books to the Greater Boston community.

Many of the titles will have connections to the Boston area: Books on the T features authors who have a connection to the Boston area, titles with topics of interest to local readers, and local settings and/or subjects. Books on the T will introduce books to a diverse audience, covering every MBTA location, and involving the community along the way. Greater Boston area “guest” fairies representing community leaders, business, non-profit organizations, educational and other institutions will be asked to collaborate by designating volunteer book fairies.

Books on the T is part of the Books on the Move global movement. We look forward to making Books on the T a success in Greater Boston as it has been in other cities around in the United States and around the world.

Just Quote Me 

As a reporter, I used to call up sources for comments. Now, I'm being quoted: On the 1942 Cocoanut Grove  fire by the Associated Press and the 1950 Brink's robbery in the Boston Globe. Thank you, Emily Sweeney, another excellent local history author. 

I was one of the "experts" on this project, writing about Louisa May Alcott, who has has always been a personal heroine to me.

 

Crime on the Radio

Recently I was interviewed by the very gracious Mike di Stasio for his Reel Talk with the Hollywood Kid podcast on the Brink's robbery. Here's a link.   Takes a while to get to my part. 

 

 

The Curiosity Desk: The Brink's Heist

How many parking garages are there in the Boston area? Hundreds? Thousands? Only one was the scene of the (very nearly) "perfect crime."

The North Terminal Garage in the North End, explains Stephanie Schorow, author of "The Crime of the Century: How the Brink's Robbers Stole Millions and the Hearts of Boston," looks largely today as it did in 1950, with one important exception.

"This was once the headquarters of the Brink's armored car company in Boston—their Boston office," she explained. "And this is where the money was processed. Money came in, money went out."

It was the money that caught small-time crook and master lock pick Tony Pino’s eye. For more that a year, he meticulously studied the layout of the building, the timing of the truck deliveries and the behavior of the employees.

"The idea of the Brink's was that the guys would go in at the precise moment when all of the money had been brought into the office, but before it was locked in the safe," said Schorow.

But there was a small problem: a series of locked doors leading from the street to the Brinks office. ...

The Curiosity Desk: The Great Fire of 1872

Over the years, November has been a particularly deadly and destructive month in Boston, due to a handful of the worst fires in the city's history. Most remembered is the deadly fire at the Coconut Grove nightclub in late-November of 1942 that claimed the lives of nearly 500 people. But the others have been largely forgotten, including one in 1872 that still stands today as one of the most devastating fires in American history.

Almost 150 years later, we still don’t really know how this story begins. We do know how it ends.

"If you had been in downtown Boston November 10th or 11th of 1872 you would have looked out on a sea of absolute destruction," said Stephanie Schorow, author of Boston on Fire. " Today we would’ve looked at it and thought an atomic bomb went off. Boston was entirely in ruins."

But it wasn’t a bomb, atomic or otherwise, that reduced 65 acres – from Downtown Crossing to the wharf, Post Office Square to the Leather District – to smoldering rubble. As best as we can tell, it was simply a spark, deep in the basement of a building at the corner of Kingston and Summer Streets.

"There weren’t a lot of people living in that area but there were a lot of stores, but mostly retail and a lot of warehouses and that’s part of what caused the fire to spread is you had warehouses that were chock full of merchandise for the Christmas holiday," said Schorow.

If you're looking for a dynamic speaker for your organization, group, library or club, please consider booking Stephanie Schorow

Smoozing with Bradley Jay on WBZ radio. i'm a frequent guest on his show to talk about Boston history.