Dan Wakefield is a novelist, journalist and screenwriter whose best-selling novels “Going All The Way” and “Starting Over” were produced as feature films, and he created the NBC prime time TV series “James at 15.” A documentary film has been produced of his memoir “New York in the Fifties.”
His non-fiction books on spirituality include “Returning: A Spiritual Journey;” “Creating from The Spirit;” “The Story of Your Life: Writing a Spiritual Autobiography,” “Expect a Miracle,” and “How Do We Know When It’s God ?: A Spiritual Memoir.”
Wakefield has been the recipient of a Neiman Fellowship in Journalism, the Bernard DeVoto Fellowship to the Bread Loaf Writers Conference, a Rockefeller Grant for Creative Writing, and an award from the National Endowment for the Arts. He has taught in the writing programs at Boston University, the University of Massachusetts at Boston, Emerson College, The Iowa Writers Workshop, and is presently Writer in Residence at Florida International University in Miami.
Born in Indianapolis, Indiana, Wakefield was an Eagle Scout, and began his writing career as a columnist of his high school newspaper, The Shortridge Daily Echo, also serving as sports correspondent for The Indianapolis Star. After graduating from Columbia College in New York City in 1955, he wrote for many national magazines (including The New York Times Magazine, Harpers, The Atlantic Monthly) and published his first book, “Island in the City: The World of Spanish Harlem.” (Other non-fiction books include “The Addict: an Anthology,” “All Her Children: The Making of a Soap Opera,” and “Supernation at Peace and War,” which first appearred as the entire issue of The March, 1968 Atlantic Monthly.) He has been a staff writer for The Nation Magazine, a Contributing Editor of The Atlantic Monthly, a Contributing Writer for GQ, a Contributing Editor of The Yoga Journal,and is on the advisory board of Image: A Journal of The Arts and Religion.
Mr. Wakefield was baptized as a child at the First Presbyterian Church in Indianapolis, and at age nine attended a Baptist Bible School class that led him to choose baptism by full immersion at the age of eleven. During college he became an atheist, and did not return to church until 1980 when he went to a Christmas Eve service at King’s Chapel, a Christian church in the Unitarian-Universalist denomination in Boston. He joined that church, served on its vestry and as co-chair of its adult religious education committee, and served on the national board of the Unitarian-Universalist Christian Fellowship.
The author and teacher has led his workshops in “Spiritual Autobiography” and “Creating fromn the Spirit” at churches, synagogues, and adult education centers throughout the U.S. and in Mexico and Northern Ireland, and at Sing Sing prison, including the following: Auburn Theological Seminary and Marble Collegiate Church in New York City, The Fourth Presbyterian Church in Chicago, Temple Emanu-El in San Francisco, The Society of St. John the Evangalist (Episcopal) Monastery in Cambridge, Mass., Trinity Episcopal Church and King’s Chapel in Boston, Glastonbury Abbey Benedictine Monastery in Himgham, Mass., St. Gregory’s Episcoapl Church in San Francisco, the Faith Methodist Church in St. Paul, Minnesota, Trinity Presbyterian Church in Atlanta, Georgia.
See more of Dan’s videos on his Youtube Channel
As well as the workshops he leads (see Workshops in “Spiritual Autobiography and “Creating from the Spirit” on this website), Wakefield has taught courses in memoir, fiction, and creative non-fiction at writing programs in colleges and universities throughout the U.S., including Emerson College in Boston, The Iowa Writers Workshop. The Boston University Graduate Writing Program, The University of Massachusetts at Boston, The Illinois University Journalism School, Florida International University, and The Converse (S.C.) Low Residency MFA in Writing Program. Wakefield served as writer in Residence from 1994-2010 at The Writing Program of Florida International University, where he was given The Faculty Award for Mentorship. He now teacher in The Low Residency MFA in Writing Program at Converse College in Spartanburg, S.C.
Island in the City (Houghton Mifflin, 1959)
Revolt in the South (Grove Press, 1962)
The Addict: An Anthology (Fawcett, 1963)
Between The Lines (New American Library, 1965)
Supernation at Peace and War (Atlantic-Little, Brown, 1968)
All Her Children: The Making of a Soap Opera (Doubleday, 1975)
Returning: A Spiritual Journey (Doubleday, 1988)
New York in the Fifties (Houghton Mifflin/Seymour Lawrence, 1992)
Expect a Miracle (Harper Collins, 1995)
Creating from the Spirit (Ballantine, 1996)
How Do We Know When It’s God ? (Little, Brown, 1999)
Going All The Way (Delacorte/Seymour Lawrence, 1970)
Starting Over (Delacorte/Seymour Lawrence, 1973)
Home Free (Delacorto/Seymour Lawrence, 1977)
Under The Apple Tree (Delacorte/Seymour Lawrence, 1982)
Selling Out (Little, Brown, 1985)
Introduction by Dan Wakefield to:
C. Wright Mills: Letters and Autobiographical Writings, edited by Kathryn Mills with Pamela Mills. (University of California Press, 2000).
Staff Writer, The Nation, 1956-1960
Contributing Editor, The Atlantic Monthly, 1968-1980
Contributing Editor, GQ, 1990-1994
Senior Writer, The Yoga Journal, 1994-1998
Movies and Television
Creator of NBC TV Series “James at 15.” Story Consultant for series, 1977
Writer and Co-producer of CBS Movie of the Week “The Seduction of Miss Leona,” starring Lynn Redgrave and Bryan Dennehy, based on the novel “Bliss” by Elizabeth Gundy, 1980
“Starting Over,” based on my novel, starring Jill Clayburgh, Burt Reynolds, and Candace Bergen, 1980
Writer of screenplay of “Going All the Way,” based on my novel, starring Jill Clayburgh, Leslie Ann Warren, Ben Affleck, and Jeremy Navies.
Lectures at Bread Loaf Writers Conference, Seaside Writers Conference, et al.; Columbia, Harvard, Indiana, Illinois, Massachusetts, Butler, and other universities; Goddard, Anderson (Indiana), Vasser, and other colleges; The Esalen Institute, Omega Institute, Boston Center for Adult Education, and other adult ed facilities, and Sing Sing prison; Trinity Episcopal Church of Boston, Fourth Presbyterian Church of Chicago, Glastonbury Abbey Benedictine Monastery, All Souls Unitarian Church of New York City, Temple Emmanuel—San Francisco; and other churches and synagogues.
Visiting Lecturer. University of Massachusetts at Boston, 1965-67
Visiting Lecturer, University of Illinois Journalism School, Spring 1968
Visiting Lecturer, Iowa Writers Workshop, University of Iowa, Spring 1972
Visiting Lecturer, Boston University Graduate Writing Program, 1973-74
Writer in Residence, Emerson College, 1989-92
Writer in Residence, Florida International University, 1992
Grands & Awards
Bernard DeVoto Fellowship to Bread Loaf Writers Conference, 1958
Neiman Fellowship in Journalism at Harvard University, 1963-64
National Foundation for the Arts Award for Short Story, 1966
“Autumn Full of Apples” selected for Best American Stories of 1966
Rockefeller Foundation Grant in Writing, 1968
My novel “Going All The Way” nominated for The National Book Award, 1970.
The Authors Guild of America
The National Writers Union
Writers Guild of America
East King’s Chapel of Boston (member of the Unitarian-Universalist Association)
Janklow and Nesbit