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Sundlun bio project in the works at URI

February 23, 2012

My personal choice to write a biography of former governor Bruce Sundlun, the larger than life personality who died last year, would be one of his former aides, PR man and talented wordsmith David Preston. URI sends word that it has its own Sundlun project:

Stephen Frater, a native Rhode Islander, author and new writer-in-residence at the University of Rhode Island, wants to craft the definitive biography of a man whose personality and accomplishments in the state’s military, business, social and political circles make him the “Frank Sinatra of Rhode Island” – former Gov. Bruce Sundlun.

And he’s going to show URI students exactly how to do it.

“It’s a terrific story. He was a true war hero and a man of his time who did it all his way,” Frater said, noting that Sundlun specifically requested Sinatra’s My Way be played at his funeral. “Sundlun was a business tycoon four times over and a towering Rhode Island civic, cultural, business and political leader for decades, not to mention his five marriages and innumerable girlfriends.”

Frater began teaching a three-semester “real world” experiential learning course this semester titled “The Art, Craft and Business of Nonfiction,” in which students will learn how to research and write a biography, secure a literary agent and how to pitch a book to a publishing company in today’s challenging publishing environment.

“We’re at an interesting point,” Frater said. “Last year, Amazon’s digital sales of books outsold paper editions for the first time, and it will never go back. In many sectors of the publishing industry, there is no longer an incubation process to nurture young writers. Schools of Communication and Media, like the Harrington School at URI, have a unique opportunity to step into the breach for the next generation of storytellers because the industry just isn’t financially capable of doing it any longer.”

Frater will incorporate the increasing demand for multimedia products into his course. Students will create an iPad-ready book proposal loaded with digital documents, photos and video to pitch the book to publishers.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. February 23, 2012 11:04 pm

    We are thrilled that the Harrington School of Communication and Media at the University of Rhode Island can sponsor this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for students. Students who get an apprenticeship opportunity like this, to explore the life of a headliner like Bruce Sundlun under a distinguished writer like Stephen Frater, are indeed getting a real education!

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