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Biography of Margo Hammond

Margo Hammond

An award-winning journalist, blogger and writing workshop teacher, Margo Hammond has had extensive experience in both travel writing and teaching the art of the travel memoir. Her longtime career as a book editor and book reviewer has given her a unique insider’s perspective on how to get published. She has written and edited thousands of articles. She has edited a collection of personal essays and co-written a book of recommended reading that includes reviews of more than 100 memoirs.

TRAVEL WRITING: For eight years, Margo wrote a syndicated travel column for the New York Times Syndicate called Rooms With a View. While serving 16 years as the book editor of the St. Petersburg Times, she wrote a monthly travel rubrique called The Literary Traveler for that newspaper’s travel section. Her travel articles have appeared in dozens of national and international venues; most recently, she authored a Washington Post article where, inspired by Woody Allen’s “Midnight in Paris,” she went in search of the Paris of the 1920s.

WRITING CLASSES: Margo has long encouraged people to record their stories -- no matter what their ages – a la Ernest Hemingway’s “Moveable Feast.” She began with an impressive success story: her own mother. LaVerne Hammond published her first newspaper article at age 86 and went on to write a monthly newspaper column for the St. Petersburg Times’ Seniority section until her death at age 92. “Post Scripts: A Writing Life After Eighty,” a collection of her mother’s personal essays that Margo compiled and edited, was selected by the Hillsborough County Library System to be included in their Book Clubs in a Bag program. Inspired by her mother’s late-in-life writing career, Margo offered her first memoir-writing workshop at a tea room in St. Petersburg, FL to launch other creative late bloomers. She also started a blog called Creative Late Bloomers to celebrate late-in-life artistic achievement. The popularity of her “Down the Rabbit Hole Memoir-Writing Workshops” led to an invitation to present monthly classes at the new Dali Museum in downtown St. Petersburg.

PUBLISHING INSIGHTS: Margo’s long-time experience as a book editor and reviewer gives her a unique insider’s perspective on publishing. Her book “Between the Covers: The Book Babes’ Guide to a Woman’s Reading Pleasures,” co-written with fellow “Book Babe” Ellen Heltzel and published by Da Capo Press (part of the Perseus Group), was among the Perseus Group’s top ten publicity successes, landing features in a number of national publications, including MORE magazine, Elle and U.S.A. Today. More than one-third of the over 500 books reviewed in “Between the Covers” are memoirs, including a number of travel memoirs, attesting to the continued interest in that genre in the publishing world.

During her four decades in journalism, Margo worked for the Atlantic Monthly, the Washington Star, the Baltimore Sun and the Wall Street Journal Asian Weekly. As part of the Book Babes she wrote on-line columns that appeared on, a popular journalist website of the Poynter Institute for media studies; the Book Standard website, aimed at publishers, and the website of Good Housekeeping magazine. The duo co-hosted a radio program on WMNF-FM 88.5 in Tampa and co-wrote articles that appeared in Good Housekeeping, MORE, the Minneapolis Star-Tribune and the San Jose Mercury News, among other outlets.

While book editor at the St. Petersburg Times, she founded an annual book festival, The Times Festival of Reading, which continues to draw a crowd of thousands each year. She has appeared on The Today Show (interviewed by Matt Lauer), C-SPAN and NPR. She is a past president of the Southern Book Critics Circle and a past member of the National Book Critics Circle board.

A graduate cum laude of Marquette University in Milwaukee, WI, Margo also attended the School of Advanced International Studies in Bologna, Italy, the African Institute in Geneva, Switzerland, and the Fletcher School of Law & Diplomacy in Medford, MA. She speaks French fluently. Margo is currently at work on a book about creative late bloomers.