Biography

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I am a book author, publisher, and new blogger (www.annsjoerdsma.com, started in mid-September); a free-lance journalist; and a licensed attorney (N.C., Maryland, and the District of Columbia) who is no longer actively practicing.

EARLY BACKGROUND, EDUCATION

A native of Washington, D.C., I grew up in Bethesda, Md., where I attended public schools (Walt Whitman High School) until my family moved to Europe, for my father’s work, in 1972. I graduated from an international school in Geneva and returned to the States to attend the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, which I selected in large part because of my Outer Banks home. My degrees are:

B.A., journalism and English, UNC-Chapel Hill, 1977

I spent my first two college summers waiting tables and cleaning motel rooms in Manteo and KDH. I interned at The High Point Enterprise during my third summer.

J.D., UNC-Chapel Hill School of Law, 1981

I was a member of the client counseling team of the moot court bench; president of Women in Law; and a part-time law clerk for two years at the N.C. Memorial Hospital.

From 1981 until 2004, when I became a full-time book writer, I had a multi-track career in journalism, law, and publishing and also worked in the theater as a playwright and teacher.

PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE

Journalism

In the 1990s, I was the book-review editor, a book critic/columnist, and an op-ed columnist for The Virginian-Pilot. Before I took the job with The Pilot, I worked as a copy editor for The Baltimore Sun, free-lanced my writing and editing, and nationally self-syndicated book reviews.

I have worn many hats as a journalist, including that of free-lance theater and movie critic; sports columnist; and feature, travel, and editorial writer. Drawing upon my legal education and training, I have been a legal editor for a law journal; a staff writer for a legal newspaper; a U.S. Supreme Court columnist; and a legal newsletter editor/writer. I’ve published hundreds of articles in newspapers and magazines.

Law

I started my legal career in 1981 as the executive director of The Women’s Law Center in Baltimore. I thereafter became a staff attorney in the Domestic Law Unit of The Legal Aid Bureau of Baltimore City and worked with the Law Offices of Ralph M. Murdy, Esq., Baltimore, 1984-89. I also had a free-lance brief-writing business.

After I left The Pilot, I received training in mediation in Maryland, Virginia, and North Carolina. I was a self-employed mediator from 1998-2004. Locally, I conducted a community mediation in Buxton among stakeholders invested in the construction of the Cape Hatteras Secondary School.

Publishing

I founded Improbable Books and published my first book in 2008. My second is coming out in December. (www.improbablebooks.com)

In the 1980s and ’90s, I was a free-lance manuscript editor for Bancroft Press of Baltimore and for individual authors. My primary titles were “Glory for Sale: Fans, Dollars and the New NFL,” by Jon Morgan, a Baltimore Sun sports reporter; and “Violent Screen: A Critic’s 13 Years on the Front Lines of Movie Mayhem,” by Stephen Hunter, then the film critic for The Baltimore Sun.

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I am a writer, communicator, critic, and advocate. I love to write, edit, do research, problem-solve, analyze, brainstorm, and argue for causes in which I believe. I enjoy conversation and debate. My critical-thinking, active-listening, and investigatory skills are well-developed. I know how to do homework and base my opinions and decisions on established facts. I’m also cool in a crisis and quite nice. Just ask my Mom.

September 2015

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