Alumni Profiles

John Reed, SOA '04

Fiction, Creative Writing
Job Title: 
Grad Year: 
School of the Arts

Please briefly describe your current position in more detail, including your responsibilities and job tasks:

I'm a writer and editor.  I've published several books, write consistently about the arts and sometimes other subjects.  I've also worked extensively as a producer and writer for television and film. 

Please briefly describe your career path, including the reasons behind job changes, since graduating from Columbia University:

I try to stay open to opportunities.  My strategies change, but as of today, 04/15/1011, I'm going with the path of least resistance.  That, of course, requires that I figure out what that path is, many projects at once, and then make a decision and a commitment of time.

How did your experiences at Columbia University (e.g., academic studies, extra-curricular activities, student groups) prepare you for your career?:

At that time, the Columbia University MFA in creative writing was a pressure cooker, intentionally so.  I think that process accelerated my maturation as a writer.  I don't believe it had much impact on the end result—but maybe that may be a useful delusion. 

What job resources (internships, summer opportunities, work experiences, or individuals) have influenced your career choice(s)?:

I wish I had done more in the way of internships.  I was a fool not to get involved.  I did hang around several established authors, who finally got annoyed enough to point me in the right direction. 

What advice would you give to a Columbia student or graduate interested in your field?:

While you're in school, you're in the community of your field.  Once you've graduated, you're an outsider looking in.  Begin to work in your field, as an intern, whatever, while you're still a student.