Introduction for Meredith May
May 20, 2018
by Virginia Bellis Brandabur
Our first reader tonight is Meredith May. Meredith and I actually went to high school together; more importantly, we were on the undefeated Carmel High girls swim team together. But that is not the reason she’s here. Rather, it’s both her rich career in journalism and her dedication to beekeeping that has Meredith all the way up from San Francisco to read for us tonight.
Of her journalism, Meredith has said, “I like to tell true stories about brave people.” In her 16 years at the San Francisco Chronicle, Meredith did just that, again and again writing stories that not only offered her readers an intimate look into an individual’s experience, but at the same time highlighted the surrounding larger issues, so her readers might understand and care about these issues – be they a war halfway around the world, fraud in the school down the street, or the sex trafficking happening right under her readers’ noses. Her writing was not only award-winning, but effectual, leading to criminal investigations and convictions, and even a new California law. Operation Lion Heart, Meredith’s series about a war-wounded Iraqi boy, won the 2005 PEN USA Literary Award for journalism, but also inspired the US government to grant political asylum to the boy and his family. Last year, Meredith published her first book, I, Who Would Not Die, the true story of an Iranian child soldier who, when ordered to shoot a wounded enemy Iraqi soldier, chose instead to secretly nurse him back to health.
In addition to being a writer, Meredith is also a third generation beekeeper. Of beekeeping she has said, “When you hold a bunch of bees in your hand, you can feel the vibration in your heart. There is something alive about being so close to something that, really, is so fearful to a lot of people. But bees are very gentle… they take nothing. I think they’re the most generous creatures on the planet.”
Her current project, a memoir titled The Honey Bus: A Girl Saved By Bees, brings her love of writing and her love of bees together. I suspect it will be a true story told of a brave girl that will help us to better understand the significance of bees to our own lives.
Please welcome Meredith May.