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The Writer-in-Residence Program

The history department at the University of Massachusetts Amherst is dedicated to the idea that an understanding of the past is essential to living in a vibrant democracy. As a measure of that commitment, the Department of History's Writer-in-Residence program facilitates sustained conversation with widely-read authors whose historical work engages broad public audiences.

Each year, with major funding from Five Colleges, Inc., the history department brings a writer of national prominence to campus for a week-long residency in order to give focused attention in our graduate training to writing for a range of audiences and in a variety of venues well beyond the monograph or scholarly article. Writers in Residence visit courses and seminars, meet with students and faculty over coffee, lunches, and dinners, and deliver a public lecture. The residency is embedded within our signature seminars, Writing History and History Communication. In this way, graduate students from UMass Amherst expand their ability to write for a wider array of readers, sharing the insights of our discipline both within the academy and well beyond.

Writer and professor Amy Bass.
Amy Bass
2024 UMass History Writer-in-Residence

Emmy award winning writer Amy Bass, Ph.D., is Professor of Sport Studies and Chair of the Division of Social Science and Communication at Manhattanville College. As a writer and scholar, she engages audiences inside and outside of academia with a focus on sport, culture, and politics. Her first book, Not the Triumph, but the Struggle: the 1968 Olympic Games and the Making of the Black Athlete, is considered a standard-bearer for the study of sport from a cultural perspective. Her most recent work, One Goal: A Coach, a Team, and the Game That Brought a Divided Town Together, was named a best book of 2018 by the Boston Globe and Library Journal; was featured on the Today Show, NPR’s “The Takeaway,” “Midday,” “Under the Radar,” and “Only a Game,” and excerpted in both Sports Illustrated and ESPN’s The Undefeated. It has been optioned for film. In its starred review of the book, Kirkus called ONE GOAL “an edifying and adrenaline-charged tale,” while the Wall Street Journal declared it “the perfect parable for our time,” and the Globe & Mail dubbed it “magnificent and significant.” She edits her own series, “Sporting,” for Temple University Press. Her writing has appeared in Slate, Salon and CNN Opinion, where she is a frequent contributor on the intersections of sport, culture, and politics, and she provides sport commentary for Northeast Public Radio. A veteran of eight Olympic Games, she received her Emmy in 2012 for Outstanding Live Event Turnaround for her work for NBC’s Olympics coverage in London. A native of the Berkshires, she resides in the New York metropolitan area with her husband, daughter, and a dog named Cuffy. Bass received a Ph.D. in History with distinction from Stony Brook University.