[media-credit name="University of Wisconsin" align="alignnone" width="336"][/media-credit]Freelance writer and award-winning journalist Florence Williams wrote her first book about breasts because she was fascinated by how and why modern life changed them. Williams was named the University of Wisconsin’s science writer in residence this semester.
As the program enters its 29th year, Williams spent this week on campus.
Williams freelances for outlets such as The New York Times Magazine, Slate, High Country News, Mother Jones and O, The Oprah Magazine, in addition to being a contributing editor at Outside Magazine, according to a UW statement. Williams focuses on science, the environment and health-related topics.
Williams said she plans to spend her week at UW guest lecturing in classes, holding office hours for students, speaking with the local Society of Professional Journalists and talking with researchers for her upcoming projects.
William’s first book is titled, “Breasts: A Natural and Unnatural History,” which received two awards, the Los Angeles Times Book Prize in Science and Technology and the 2013 Audie in general nonfiction.
“Breasts are a dynamic organ and sensitive to changes in the environment,” Williams said. “I am fascinated with how and why modern life changes breasts. I hope to go beyond just the visual changes in the breast and understand how miraculous and complex the breast really is.”
Williams found her love of writing while she was still in high school, but said she dislikes the fact that writing requires a lot of desk time and isolation. She also said she wishes someone would invent a technology that would allow her to walk and write at the same time.
Williams said she loves that writing forces the writer to collect and organize personal thoughts in a unique way to create new insights on different topics. She said she has a love-hate relationship with the deadlines the come with writing, which are painful but force the writer to get things done.
She also appreciates the support of individuals both in real life and on the Internet. People from all walks of life are interested in her books and in her as a writer, she said.
Williams said being named the science writer in residence was an honor and a great privilege. As a writer, she said she spends most of her time in isolation so she likes being here at UW, interacting with the students and faculty.
“It’s nice to be out of my own office and in the community,” Williams said. “I am excited to spend this week with the students and faculty talking about my books, science and writing in general.”