Corson, Trevor 1969-

views updated

Corson, Trevor 1969-


Born 1969, in Boston, MA; son of an environmental scholar. Education: Princeton University, B.A. (summa cum laude).


Home—New York, NY. Agent—Stuart Krichevsky, 381 Park Ave. S, Ste. 914, New York, NY 10016. E-mail—[email protected].


Writer, journalist, public speaker, and editor. Has also worked on a lobster fishing boat in Maine. Worked in international peace education. Guest on television and radio programs.


Three Alternative Press Awards for international reporting, for Transition magazine; Knight Foundation fellow in investigative science journalism, 2005.


The Secret Life of Lobsters: How Fishermen and Scientists Are Unraveling the Mysteries of Our Favorite Crustacean, HarperCollins (New York, NY), 2004.

The Zen of Fish: The Story of Sushi, from Samurai to Supermarket, HarperCollins (New York, NY), 2007.

Contributor to anthologies, including The Best American Science Writing, 2003, edited by Oliver Sacks and Jesse Cohen, Harper Collins (New York, NY), 2003. Contributor to periodicals, including the New York Times, Atlantic Monthly, Los Angeles Times, Wall Street Journal, and Boston Globe. Transition magazine, former managing editor; Atlantic Monthly, former contributing writer and editorial intern.


The son of an environmentalist, Trevor Corson spent his childhood summers on Little Cranberry Island off the coast of Maine. Although he majored in religion and East Asian studies at Princeton University and spent five years in China and Japan, Corson was drawn back to Maine. For two years, Corson worked on a fishing boat with a family that had been harvesting lobsters for generations. From that experience grew Corson's book, The Secret Life of Lobsters: How Fishermen and Scientists Are Unraveling the Mysteries of Our Favorite Crustacean.

The Secret Life of Lobsters explores the biology of lobsters as well as the efforts of scientists and lobstermen to keep the creature's population from decline. Corson profiles fishing families who have developed techniques to ensure that top reproducing female lobsters are returned to the sea. He follows marine biologists as they use modern technology to learn more about the elusive crustacean's habits. He also explains those habits, including the lobster's sexual cycle and its penchant for fighting viciously with its own kind. In the New York Times, Florence Fabricant wrote that The Secret Life of Lobsters is "about ecology and the environment, and about what is being done to keep lobster fishing viable. The chapters are knitted together with rich stories about the people who catch lobsters, their families, the dangers they face, and how to balance their livelihood with the issues of conservation and regulation."

Reviewers found much to praise in The Secret Life of Lobsters. In Natural History, Laurence A. Marshall wrote that Corson "cuts almost cinematically between intimate scenes of lobsters doing their stuff and scenes of people in lobster boats and research vessels." Marshall contended that the author provides "an authentic feel for the lives of fishing families in Maine." In the Boston Herald, Rob Mitchell called the work "a savory blend of history and science, along with a satisfying course of lobster and human behavior." Susan E. Brazer, in the Library Journal, deemed The Secret Life of Lobsters "an informative and fascinating book," and Bryce Christensen in Booklist styled it "a lively yet conceptually sophisticated work."

Corson focuses his attention on another popular seafood specialty in The Zen of Fish: The Story of Sushi, from Samurai to Supermarket. He provides a history of the development of sushi as a dignified and upscale dish, from its origins in Japan to its current status as a trendy dining choice in sushi bars and grocery stores across America. As a framework for his history, Corson follows a classroom of students at the California Sushi Academy as they learn the background of sushi and the intricacies of preparing it. "It's a clever narrative strategy—the reader learns the practice and history of sushi alongside the students," observed Jay McInerney in the New York Times Book Review. The story centers on Kate Murray and her difficulties and triumphs in learning to master the skills necessary to be a sushi chef. Corson also includes discussion of the marine biology of the fish species used in sushi; explanations of the physiology of taste and the culinary subtleties of sushi; and explorations of how American approaches to sushi differ from those of diners and chefs in Japan. A Publishers Weekly reviewer commented that Corson's "combination of culinary insights and personal drama makes for one of the more compelling food-themed books in recent years."



Booklist, April 15, 2004, Bryce Christensen, review of The Secret Life of Lobsters: How Fishermen and Scientists Are Unraveling the Mysteries of Our Favorite Crustacean, p. 1411; May 15, 2007, Mark Knoblauch, review of The Zen of Fish: The Story of Sushi, from Samurai to Supermarket, p. 12.

Boston Globe, June 27, 2007, Alison Arnett, "Telling a ‘Fish’ Story," profile of Trevor Corson.

Boston Herald, June 13, 2004, Rob Mitchell, "Writers Take a Crack at Maine Lobsters' Twisting Tale," p. 50.

Buffalo News, September 19, 2004, Sean Markey, "Meeting and Mating, Lobster Style," p. H6.

Economist, July 3, 2004, "Pots of Flesh: Lobsters," p. 71.

Library Journal, April 15, 2004, Susan E. Brazer, review of The Secret Life of Lobsters, p. 120.

Natural History, June, 2004, Laurence A. Marshall, review of The Secret Life of Lobsters, p. 59.

New York Times, June 2, 2004, Florence Fabricant, "Skip the Butter, and the Bib."

New York Times Book Review, June 10, 2007, Jay McInerney, "Raw," review of The Zen of Fish, p. 12.

Portland Press Herald (Portland, ME), June 27, 2004, Ray Routhier, "An Emblem of New England."

Publishers Weekly, March 22, 2004, review of The Secret Life of Lobsters, p. 69; April 2, 2007, review of The Zen of Fish, p. 50.


Canuck Librarian Web log, (June 4, 2007), review of The Zen of Fish.

Secret Life of Lobsters Web site, (September 2, 2007).

SF Station, (August 3, 2007), Lisa Ryers, review of The Zen of Fish.

Trevor Corson Home Page, (September 2, 2007).