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Thomas French has worked as a reporter at the St. Petersburg Times since 1981, covering crime and the courts, hurricanes and riots, the secret lives of teenagers, not to mention freeze-dried pets and many other splendors of the Sunshine State. For most of the past two decades, he has worked primarily as a narrative project reporter, writing serial narratives — book-length stories published one chapter at a time.
In 1998, French was awarded the Pulitzer prize for feature writing for one of these projects, Angels & Demons, which followed the case of an Ohio woman and her two teenage daughters who were murdered when they came to Tampa Bay for vacation. Other projects have included 13: Life at the Edge of Everything, which followed a handful of seventh graders at a Tampa middle school; The Hard Road, an investigation into the case of an elementary schoolteacher involved in a hit-and-run accident; The Exorcist in Love, which followed a mother of five investigating the paranormal; A Cry in the Night, which chronicled another murder case; and South of Heaven, which detailed a year at Largo High School. A Cry in the Night and South of Heaven were both later published as books. His most recent project, Zoo Story, published in December 2007, chronicled life behind the scenes with the animals and their keepers at Tampa's Lowry Park Zoo.
In his spare time, French teaches at the Poynter Institute and in a masters program in nonfiction writing at Goucher College, outside Baltimore. He also leads reporting and writing workshops across the U.S. and around the world.