Julie Checkoway: Hachette Speakers Bureau

Julie Checkoway

Author and Documentary Filmmaker

Julie Checkoway is an author and documentary filmmaker. Her most recent book is the New York Times best-selling sports history THE THREE-YEAR SWIM CLUB: The Untold Story of Maui’s Sugar Ditch Kids and Their Quest for Olympic Glory, an Amazon.com 2015 pick of the year and a Barnes and Noble Discover New Great Writers’ Selection. Her previous work includes her first book, Little Sister: Searching for the Shadow World of Chinese Women (Viking Penguin), a memoir recounting a year she spent in China interviewing women about their experiences in the Cultural Revolution. Her second book, Creating Fiction (Story Press), a guidebook for writers, has been a bestseller since 1999. Creating Fiction grew out of her work as a tenured professor in creative writing at both the University of Georgia and the University of Houston and her term as President of the Board of the 25,000-member national writing organization, the Associated Writing Programs (AWP).

Checkoway’s documentary film, Waiting for Hockney premiered at the Tribeca Film festival and was broadcast in the US on the Sundance Channel. It was met with stellar reviews in Variety and covered in the New York Times, among other publications. The film, both humorous and poignant, follows a rough and tumble working-class artist on his ten-year quest to break into the rarefied art world. The film is regularly taught in art schools across the country. She has also produced work both for radio, including contributions to APR’s This American Life and NPR’s All Things Considered.

Checkoway is a graduate of Harvard-Radcliffe, the Iowa Writers Workshop, and the Johns Hopkins Writing Seminars. Her writing has appeared in the Salt Lake Tribune, The Huffington Post, The New York Times, and elsewhere. She is the recipient of numerous awards and fellowships for her work, including a National Endowment Individual Arts Fellowship and a residency at Yaddo. She has lived in Salt Lake City for 12 years with her husband, Lee Thomsen, and their two daughters.

Interested in booking Julie Checkoway to speak at your next event?

Contact Hachette Speakers Bureau.


  • Hawaii, World War II, and the Japanese-American Experience
  • Different Strokes: A Social History of Swimming
  • The Three-Year Swim Club
  • The Glorious American Entrepreneur: Ingenuity, Mythology, and Guts

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