Bowden, 'Black Hawk Down' author, joins journalism faculty
Mark Bowden


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10:43 a.m., July 23, 2010----Mark Bowden has firsthand experience telling stories in different media, as he turned his series of 29 articles in The Philadelphia Inquirer about the 1993 battle of Mogadishu, Somalia, into the bestselling book Black Hawk Down, which later became a feature film of the same name.

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Now, Bowden plans to share his insights into those experiences with University of Delaware students as an adjunct faculty member in the Department of English journalism program for the 2010-11 academic year. He will teach a course called “Telling True Stories” during fall semester and lead an undergraduate seminar on reporting and writing in the spring.

“I'm very happy to have this opportunity,” said Bowden, who lives in nearby Oxford, Pa. “True stories change as they move from one medium to another -- I've been through this process myself -- and that's the process we're going to explore in the [fall semester] course.”

He said the course may include discussions of such books, in addition to Black Hawk Down and others he has written, as Sebastian Junger's The Perfect Storm and Truman Capote's In Cold Blood. Both are essentially journalistic books, sometimes called “creative nonfiction,” that became films, not to mention two other movies that have been made depicting Capote's process of writing the book.

Bowden said a true story that is first written as a newspaper article and then grows into a series of articles or a long magazine piece and from there into a book and later a screenplay changes at each step along the way.

“The story changes -- the truth changes -- and it's going to be fun and interesting to teach a class where we learn how this evolves,” he said.

Bowden, who worked for The Philadelphia Inquirer until last month and writes regularly for Vanity Fair, where he is a contributing editor, and The Atlantic Monthly, previously also taught journalism and creative writing at Loyola University Maryland, his alma mater.

“He's a very important writer, and he's a natural mentor who loves to teach,” Matt Kinservik, professor and chairperson of UD's English department, said of Bowden. “That's a rare combination. He'll be a real asset, not only to our journalism program but also for our creative writing students.”

Bowden's other books include Finders Keepers: The Story of a Man Who Found $1 Million about Philadelphian Joey Coyle, which became the movie Money for Nothing, and Guests of the Ayatollah: The First Battle in America's War With Militant Islam and Killing Pablo: The Hunt for the World's Greatest Outlaw, both of which are in development as films. His most recent book was last year's The Best Game Ever: Giants vs. Colts, 1958, and the Birth of the Modern NFL.

Article by Ann Manser