New twists on old tales

March/April 2011

Reading time min

Prolific author Betsy Franco, '69, who has written more than 80 books for young readers, published her first young-adult novel, Metamorphosis: Junior Year, in 2009. Since then she's metamorphosed Metamorphosis into a play, onstage at the Palo Alto Children's Theatre March 3 through March 12. In a further media mix, her sons James, Oscar-nominated for his role in 127 Hours, and David recorded the audio version of the book; and James has made a documentary film of the play-production process, in which artist brother Tom took part as a set designer.

Nathan Wolfe made headlines in 2004 demonstrating that retroviruses such as HIV/AIDS could cross directly from primates to indigenous hunters. Wolfe, '92, was then professor of epidemiology at UCLA. Now back at Stanford as a visiting professor of human biology, Wolfe runs an organization called Global Viral Forecasting and was deemed the world's most prominent virus hunter in a December profile in the New Yorker.

Gourds of all shapes and sizes—and what you can craft with them—used to preoccupy Ginger Summit, '62, MA '63, who told us in 2000 that, having written a number of books on the subject, she was looking for a different pastime. She has found another calling, if not exactly a hobby: Summit is the new Los Altos Hills mayor.

Pianist Jon Nakamatsu stunned the music world when he won the Van Cliburn International competition in 1997: Americans rarely win, and Nakamatsu, '91, MEd '92, wasn't a conservatory graduate but a high school German teacher. Could he turn the fleeting celebrity the prize afforded into a career? With nine CDs under his belt and extensive recital tours across the country and in Europe, the answer is yes.

When Dan Goldie, '86, learned that Wall Street veteran Gordon Murray was dying of brain cancer, he helped his friend fulfill a longtime goal to write a book of investment advice for amateurs. The co-authored and self-published book sold well last fall, and the New York Times ran a story about the project. Result: the book's speedy acquisition in December and its January 25 release by trade publisher Business Plus. Murray died on January 15.

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