Alison Bass—Brassy Broad: How one journalist helped pave the way to #MeToo

Brassy Broad

Brassy Broad


Alison Bass
Bedazzled Ink Publishing, September 21, 2021, $17.95
ISBN-10: ‎1949290638, ISBN-13: ‎9781949290639

Bass reports:

My memoir, Brassy Broad: How one journalist helped pave the way to #MeToo, tells the story of a scrappy outsider who overcame significant obstacles to become one of the first in the country to write about the sexual misconduct of powerful men.

I was the first reporter at The Boston Globe to write about the molestation of children by Catholic priests – a decade ahead of the Spotlight investigation chronicled in the 2016 movie. I was also nominated for a Pulitzer for a series of articles on psychiatrists who violated ethical boundaries by having sex with their patients.

Alison Bass

Alison Bass

The narrative is framed by my childhood experience growing up in Bryn Gweled, an unusual intentional community. I weave these stories together with chapters about my journalism career into what I hope is a gripping tale about one woman’s struggle to establish herself as a respected journalist and author in an industry dominated by men.

My two previous nonfiction books are Side Effects: A Prosecutor, a Whistleblower and a Bestselling Antidepressant on Trial, which won the 2009 NASW Science in Society Award and Getting Screwed: Sex Workers and the Law.

The idea for this memoir came from discovering the transcript of an interview my father had done in the 1950s with the founders of Bryn Gweled. It was after reading that transcript that it hit me: I had grown up in a community whose very existence was based on challenging the status quo. That realization helped explain why I consistently challenged authority as a journalist, writing about taboo subjects, such as corruption in government and sexual abuse long before the #MeToo movement. Other personal experiences, such as being a sexual assault survivor myself, made me a more open-minded and empathetic reporter.

It took me a long to write and rewrite this memoir. I began the effort five years ago and discovered that the trick is knowing what to leave out. After months of trying to find an agent, I was lucky enough to sell the book directly to a small independent press that I found through the Authors Publish newsletter.

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September 22, 2021

Advance Copy

The path from idea to book may take myriad routes. The Advance Copy column, started in 2000 by NASW volunteer book editor Lynne Lamberg, features NASW authors telling the stories behind their books. Authors are asked to report how they got their idea, honed it into a proposal, found an agent and a publisher, funded and conducted their research, and organized their writing process. They also are asked to share what they wish they’d known when they started or would do differently next time, and what advice they can offer aspiring authors. Lamberg edits the authors’ answers to produce the Advance Copy reports.

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