Before freelancing, Nancy Dorman-Hickson was an editor for Southern Living and Progressive Farmer magazines during which time she received praise for her writing from Harper Lee, Pat Conroy, Naomi Judd, Fannie Flagg and many more.
She has received numerous awards, including a National Magazine Award nomination from the American Society of Magazine Editors; several awards from the National Federation of Press Women and its affiliate chapter, Alabama Media Professionals; The American Values Community Action Network award, multiple times; the American Agriculture Editors’ Association’s “Writer of the Year” recognition during multiple years; the Oscar in Agriculture award multiple times; the Excellence in Health Reporting award multiple times; and The Videographer Award of Distinction for a film documentary on washerwoman Oseola McCarty.
More of the Facts…A Lengthy Professional Bio
A prize-winning writer and editor, Nancy Dorman-Hickson has been in the publishing industry for more than two decades. In addition to her magazine, web, and book work, she has been a desk editor for a small-town newspaper, taught speech and interpersonal communication at the college level, and worked in marketing and public relations.
She’s been on the public relations staff at two universities, Mississippi State University and University of Alabama at Birmingham where she wrote and edited news releases, university and state-wide publications, as well as created, promoted, and hosted media events. While freelancing, she promoted Cabot Cheese, a product line from a Vermont dairy farmers co-op.
As a print and web writer, Nancy has received national awards for her clear and concise reporting on issues as diverse as education, health, and workplace safety. She’s written award-winning coverage on travel and dining destinations as well as features in the arenas of homes, gardening, and food. Wellness and health are subjects she has covered as both a staff magazine editor and a freelancer. Nancy has also written extensively on spiritual topics for both the secular and religious audience.
She has written multiple stories on authors and books and served for many years as the “Books About the South” review editor for Southern Living magazine. During that time she co-hosted the Writers’ Weekend event at the Inn at Biltmore in North Carolina as well as served on the committee for the Birmingham-Southern College Writing Today conference.
Beyond the Facts…A Personal Bio
Three of the best compliments I have ever received might seem unrelated but to me they connect the dots of who I am as a writer, an editor, and a person.
The first was from a professional musician friend whose descriptive comment about me, an untrained, amateur singer, was extraordinarily kind. “You sing with emotion. You really understand and feel the words and music,” he told me.
The second came from a physician whose brilliance (he helped map the human genome) was matched only by his compassion (he started a free clinic for the poor then helped others open dozens more). After we spent the day together, he said, “I can tell, you are an active listener. You’re not just nodding your head in all the right places. You’re really listening.”
And the third compliment I’ve heard over and over from countless people after they’ve read stories I’ve crafted from our conversations. “How do you know me so well?” they ask, slightly puzzled but grateful. “I even learned things about myself.” I’ve heard a variation of that from CEOs, celebrities, artists, chefs, doctors, authors, gardeners, athletes, musicians, police officers…
In short, others have described me as empathic, an avid listener and a detailed researcher—all traits that help me as a storytelling writer.
Interviewing people is a strength I count on, no matter what the tale or who is doing the telling. I feel genuinely honored when people share with me their stories, hopes, dreams, goals, and details of their past, their present, and their future. It is fun, too. I get to live many lives through the people I write about.
I’ve always seen my writing role as an advocate for the person I’m interviewing. Certainly I want to entice readers enough to read what I write. But, frankly, I would make a lousy hard-core, investigative journalist. I am not about uncovering crime, misdeeds, scandals, and the underbelly of humanity (although I’m glad there are people who are good at this). Mine is a kinder, gentler talent which lends itself to drawing people out, asking penetrating questions, and deciphering what they mean when they are unclear and uncertain of how to phrase it.
My goal is to help people position themselves in a way that is honest but flattering. I look and find the best in people. That is my nature and the God-given talent I possess.