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Horses, writing and journalism – Authors Sarah Maslin Nir and Courtney Maum in conversation with Jim Brooke

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Join us on Sunday, April 30 at 4:00 p.m. for a discussion with Sarah Maslin Nir, Courtney Maum and Jim Brooke about horses, writing and journalism!


Sarah Maslin Nir has been a staff reporter for The New York Times since August 2011. She currently covers breaking news for the paper’s Metro section. Before that, Ms. Nir was a beat reporter covering the boroughs of Brooklyn, Queens and Manhattan.

Ms. Nir was a finalist for the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for “Unvarnished,” her more than yearlong investigation into New York City’s nail salon industry that documented, in two parts, the exploitative labor practices and health issues manicurists face.

From 2010 until the end of 2011, Ms. Nir was The Times’s “Nocturnalist” columnist, covering New York City’s nightlife. As Nocturnalist, Ms. Nir covered more than 200 parties in 20 months, once attending 25 parties over five days. She has interviewed celebrities from Kanye West to Alec Baldwin, and had an audience — of sorts — with the Queen of Spain.

Over the course of her breaking news work, Ms. Nir covered the escape of two inmates from the Clinton Correctional Facility and camped out overnight at Zuccotti Park with the Occupy Wall Street protesters, covering the dismantling of the camp as it happened via Twitter. Before becoming a staff member, Ms. Nir freelanced for 11 sections of the paper, traveling to the Alaskan wilderness, in search of people who prefer to live in isolation, and to post-earthquake Haiti.

In September 2015, Ms. Nir was recognized with the New York Newswomen’s Club award for in-depth reporting. In November 2015, The Forward named Ms. Nir one of the 2015 Forward 50.

Before joining the Times, Ms. Nir lived in London, where she was a freelancer for several national and international publications.

Ms. Nir is not related to any other journalists with a similar name.

A born and raised Manhattanite, Ms. Nir graduated from the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism, and from Columbia University, where she studied politics and philosophy.

She loves horses.


Author of five books, including the game-changing publishing guide BEFORE AND AFTER THE BOOK DEAL and the memoir, THE YEAR OF THE HORSES, (chosen by The Today Show as the best read for mental health awareness), Courtney is a writer and book coach hellbent on preserving the joy of art-making in a culture obsessed with turning artists into brands. A nominee for the Joyce Carol Oates prize and the host of the monthly “Beyond Fiction” conversation series at Edith Wharton’s The Mount, Courtney’s essays and articles on creativity have been widely published in outlets like The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and The Guardian, and her short story “This is Not Your Fault” was recently turned into an Audible Original. A frequent interviewer of high-profile writers such as Anne Perry, Ottessa Moshfegh, and Edouard Louis, Courtney is also the founder of the learning collaborative, The Cabins. You can sign up for her publishing newsletter and enroll in her online writing classes at  She’s happy to be here.

Visit Courtney’s page for reading recommendations by genre.

See the Berkshire Eagle article about The Year of the Horses here!


Jim Brooke grew up in the Berkshires and attended Berkshire Country Day. After graduating from Yale, he embarked on a lifelong career as a foreign correspondent. Reporting for 24 years for The New York Times, he was based in West Africa, Brazil, Denver, Canada, and Japan. After taking a buyout from the Times in 2006, he was, successively, Bloomberg bureau chief in Moscow, then Voice of America TV/Radio correspondent for the former Soviet Union. After eight years in Russia, he moved to Phnom Penh to run a newspaper, then to Kyiv, Ukraine, where he founded and edits the Ukraine Business News. After six years in Kyiv, Jim recently moved back to Lenox with his family.  Jim is currently a colomnist for the Berkshire Eagle.