Nancy Marie Brown


Nancy Marie Brown in Iceland

Nancy Marie Brown is the author of six general interest books and one young adult novel: Ivory Vikings (September 2015), The Saga of Gudrid the Far-Traveler (the novel; June 2015), Song of the Vikings (2012), The Abacus and the Cross (2010), The Far Traveler (2007), Mendel in the Kitchen (2004), and A Good Horse Has No Color (2001).

She writes about Iceland and Vikings, science and sagas. Her books combine extremes: medieval literature and modern archaeology, myths and facts. They ask, What have we overlooked? What have we forgotten? Whose history must not be lost?

For 20 years, Nancy worked as a science writer and editor at Penn State University. She continues to provide editing services for a select group of clients, as well as serving on the editorial committee of The Icelandic Horse Quarterly. She lives in northern Vermont, where she keeps four Icelandic horses and an Icelandic sheepdog, and spends part of each summer in Iceland, offering history and horseback tours in collaboration with America2Iceland.

Nancy is a member of the Medieval Academy of America, the National Association of Science Writers, the Mythopoeic Society, the Icelandic National League, and the U.S. Icelandic Horse Congress. She sits on the board of the Leifur Eiriksson Foundation, which awards scholarships to American graduate students studying or doing research in Iceland, and Icelandic graduate students studying or doing research in the U.S.

Nancy grew up in Media, Pennsylvania, and attended Penncrest High School, graduating in 1977. She holds a B.A. in English (Writing Option) and an M.A. in Comparative Literature (with emphases in Arthurian Romance and Icelandic Saga), both from the Pennsylvania State University. She is married to the writer Charles Fergus, author of 16 books about nature and the outdoors, as well as the novels Shadowcatcher (Soho 1991) and A Stranger Here Below: A Gideon Stolz Novel (forthcoming).

Research/Penn State magazine Sept 1999 Research/Penn State magazine Sept 2000 Research/Penn State magazine March 1995

Nancy Marie Brown began her career as a science writer in 1981, when she accepted a part-time job in the office of the Vice President for Research at Penn State while earning her master's degree in comparative literature at the university. As a staff writer for and later editor of Research/Penn State magazine, she covered science and scholarship in all disciplines from 1981 to 2003. Some of her favorite articles remain available on the Penn State website, including the following:

Practical Education, January 2002. Studying the Icelandic sagas as a way to make a life.
The Agateer, September 2001. The lore of agates and the science of ignorance.
Flowers Out of Glass, September 1999. Glass science in the service of art: saving the Harvard Glass Flowers Collection.
Images of the Horse, September 1999. An artist's eye and his passion for technology.
The Life of a Pond, June 1999. How beavers embellish life.
Our Place in the Universe, September 1997. Why you should bother to watch a comet.
The Wild Mares of Assateague, March 1995. The stallion doesn't lead his herd, nor sire all the foals.
Treetops, March 1995. Look at a tree. Winter is best for it.
The Chemistry of Caterpillar Guts, September 1995. An oak chewed on by gypsy moths is not defenseless, but it may be ill-advised.
The Lesson of the Lock, September 1991. When students teach their teacher.
In the Interest of Public Safety, March 1990. Why a scientist scrambles into smoking volcanoes.
The Fractal Dances of Nature, March 1988. When fractals were new and "frighteningly lovely."
Easy Money: Gambling in America, December 1986. The risk to the gambler versus the risk to society.

Nancy Marie Brown. Photo by Ginger McCleskey.

Nancy Marie Brown is represented by Michelle Tessler, Tessler Literary Agency, 27 West 20th Street, Suite 1003, New York, NY 10011.

Nancy is available for lectures or readings, classroom visits, visits to book clubs and bookstores, and guided tours to Iceland. For samples of her lectures, see her Events page. To schedule an event, contact her directly at: or Download her Media Kit here. To join her in Iceland, see

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