About the Author

Stuff People Seem To Want To Know

Alumna of Columbia University, NY, NY (Columbia College, BA in comparative politics with a minor in architecture), University of Wisconsin-Madison (MA in science journalism) and The Culinary Institute of America, Hyde Park, NY (AS in Baking and Pastry Arts).

Senior editor and writer at Atlas Obscura. Former senior editor at Discover. Previous employers include The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and the U.S. Department of State.

Aside from all four time zones of the continental U.S., I’ve lived in Antarctica, New Zealand, Russia, Germany and Canada.

Stuff I Feel You Should Know

I am a high school dropout (this is true). I applied to get into the college I really wanted to attend while I was a junior in high school. Even though I didn’t have the credits to graduate or get a GED, Columbia accepted me. I never looked back.

I have been to all seven continents and earned a paycheck on four of them.

I really love oatmeal. But only proper oatmeal. Not that “overnight oats” stuff and definitely not the garbage full of nuts and fruit and maple syrup. Steel cut oats, water, salt. That’s it. People who know my culinary background and ask what my favorite food is tend to be very disappointed when they learn this.

I’m a beekeeper and also make wild-fermented mead. In addition to wrangling my two rescue dogs, I volunteer as a dogwalker at a local shelter.

Who Is StoriesThatAreTrue?

That would be me. Back in 2009 when I moved to New Zealand, a former journalism professor (and current mentor and friend) demanded I start blogging again after I’d taken a break during a particularly tumultuous year. I set up Stories That Are True, another WordPress blog (not to be confused with StoriesThatAreTrue.com, with which I have no connection).

I stopped updating that blog in 2012 when I ran out of free media space (lots of photos from New Zealand, Antarctica, Australia, Norway and elsewhere). When I set up GemmaTarlach.com, the author name of StoriesThatAreTrue followed me here. I know I could fix that in a minute or so, but it would complicate the volunteer webmaster work I do for a charity event as StoriesThatAreTrue. Maybe one day I will change it and own up to all my posts/webwork. But it is not this day.

Words I Take To Heart

“Be cunning and don’t panic. Rely upon the agility of your wit.” – Professor Eugene Rice, advice on taking his notoriously difficult European History midterm but good counsel in any case.

“Not all those who wander are lost.” – JRR Tolkien

“Season fearlessly.” – Chef Justin Hoffmann

Hiking Mt. Ruapehu, North Island of New Zealand.

10 thoughts on “About the Author

  1. Mark J. P. Wolf

    Hi Gemma,

    i have enjoyed reading your Journal/Sentinel articles, and particularly the most recent on Antarctica… I am an academic putting together an anthology entitled Video Games Around the World, and have been trying to get information on the use of video games in Antarctica, just for the sake of completeness. Even a few paragraphs would be great, and of course they would be credited. Would you, or someone you know, be able to write a bit on the topic? Thanks,

    Mark J. P. Wolf
    Communication Department
    Concordia University Wisconsin

  2. I did some research (fancy that!) and found you here. My! So you DID spend a long time in Antarctica. Way cool. I’ll travel around the site and read up.

  3. Carol Garland

    I am a 64 year old woman who has struggled with a learning disability since childhood, that makes it difficult to read. Add to that a mild head injury in an auto accident in my 40’s, I read maybe 5 books a year. But today I was captivated by your article ‘Tenacious To The Bone’. I found myself excited by your descriptions of Nizar Ibrahim’s passionate study and research of the Spinosaurus in the Sahara Desert and I just had to read more.

    Just a simple thank you for writing such a fascinating article.

    1. storiesthataretrue

      Thank you, Carol, and my apologies for not replying sooner. I check this site rarely due to my work obligations. But I’m delighted to hear you enjoyed my article! Thanks for letting me know 🙂

  4. Travis

    I noticed your article in Discover. “Hominin Trackways in Greece? The Game Is Afoot”‘, just walk on the beach and you will see this is obvious. I immediately recognized the imprint. Heel to toe. The weight is distributed through the inner “ball” of the foot, hence the deeper impression.

  5. Earl Cooke

    Thank You on your article Beyond DNA. I have to do a paper on an article and I chose what you did on DNA,in Discover September of 2017

  6. Gayle Raymond

    Dear Gemma,
    I read all of your articles in Discover Magazine first, before any others in the magazine, because I get a kick out of your writing style.
    Thanks for making reading about science fun!

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