J. Peder Zane is a writer and editor who has worked at The New York Times and The News & Observer of Raleigh, North Carolina. He is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Journalism and Mass Communications at St. Augustine’s University in Raleigh. He 2014has published four books including a collection of newspaper columns titled “Off the Books: On Literature and Culture” (University of South Carolina Press, 2015) and a work of science written with and detailing the discoveries of Professor Adrian Bejan of Duke University, “Design in Nature: How the Constructal Law Governs Evolution in Biology, Physics, Technology and Social Organization” (Doubleday, 2012). He edited and contributed to two books published by W.W. Norton, “The Top Ten: Writers Pick Their Favorite Books” (2007) and “Remarkable Reads: 34 Writers and Their Adventures in Reading” (2004). Peder’s work has won several national awards, including the Distinguished Writing Award for Commentary from the American Society of Newspaper Editors. He is a former member of the Board of the National Book Critics Circle. He is a graduate of the Collegiate School, Wesleyan University and Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism.


  1. Dear J Peder Zane,
    Thanks so much for making the “Ten Top Ten” site: it’s an excellent mix of novels and the ranking system (though of course it can never be objective–nor would anyone claim it is) gives a great mix of important books.
    The writers who you made contact with are excellent–many of the leading writers in the world.
    I wonder: Do you think it would be possible to carry out the same project regarding short stories?
    (Not collections, I mean, but individual stories.)
    I’ve compiled a list of short story gems over the years.
    I’m sure you have too.
    Imagine the gems that these (excellent) writers have collected!
    We could really assemble the greatest list of gems in the world!

  2. Mr. Zane,

    Just read your article on hb2 and the pandora’s box theory. Great read. I’m proud to read an article like this and see it’s posted publicly despite it not being the “popular” idea in today’s society. Looking forward to reading more of your stuff. Have a great day!

  3. Great oped today. There were stories about left wing summer assignments at UNC shortly after we moved here in the late 1990s. So it’s not new. Also on last evening’s College Jeopardy contest, one question was to recite the last 4 words, identical in each verse, of the Star Spangled Banner. Of the three contestants, no one even took a stab at it. All had blank faces.

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