I have a passion for learning people’s stories: the way we do things, individually and as a society; how we share our values and face our challenges; what motivates our interaction with the world.
I have worked as a freelance journalist since 2003, focusing on religion and spirituality, trails and travel, social justice and politics, civil rights, and public speaking. I recently began focusing on nature and the environment, and was selected for the Solutions Journalism Network’s mentorship program to pursue work exploring the decline of the pollinator population and measures being taken to stop or slow the decline.
From 2006 to 2015 I wrote the The Straight Path blog for the Houston Chronicle. I have also contributed to the paper’s Belief and Gray Matters sections as well as the opinion pages. I have written on politics and civil rights for the MuslimMatters online magazine. I have contributed to Religion News Service, Azizah, Islamic Horizons, The Trek, The Lily, American Muslim Today, Country Roads, eMerge, Texas Parks and Wildlife, and Toastmaster.
From 2013 to 2017 (with a break to finish working on my MFA manuscript), I served as Communications Coordinator for the Houston chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations. In that position I was responsible for sharing the chapter’s message, our goals and activities, through print and online media as well as press appearances and interviews.
From 2008 to 2011, I managed Light of Islam, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit bookstore and educational center which I conceived, created and executed. Its mission was to share accurate information about Islam and Muslims. The store carried books, CDs and DVDs that covered everything from Qur’anic studies to modern fiction. Light of Islam offered classes in Islam 101, Qur’anic studies, and events and club meetings. It served as a comfortable space for anyone to come in, have a seat in a comfy armchair, grab some coffee and read or ask questions.
In December 2003, I completed a Master of Arts degree in journalism from Emerson College, where I received the school’s Presidential Fellowship. My capstone project profiled drug offenders going through the Roxbury, Massachusetts drug court system.
I followed the journalism degree with a Master of Fine Arts in creative nonfiction from Goucher College in 2015. My final manuscript is a combination of reported writing and memoir examining the experience of minority religions in the United States.
I am president of the Society of Professional Journalists Houston Pro chapter. In 2021 I was honored to receive SPJ national’s Howard S. Dubin Outstanding Pro Member Award. I am a member of Investigative Reporters and Editors, the Association for Health Care Journalists, and the Society of Environmental Journalists. I am also a Texas Master Naturalist and a Certified Interpretive Guide.
I lead workshops on writing skills, including a workshop on writing about religion, held at the Writers Colony at Dairy Hollow in March 2020. I led a workshop on “Creative Nonfiction Writing for Hikers” at the Appalachian Trail Long Distance Hiker Association’s annual Gathering in October 2021. My next scheduled presentation will be at the HippoCamp creative nonfiction conference in August 2022, where I will present “A Sacred Trust: Getting it Right When Writing About Religion.”
I am a New Jersey native based in Houston, where I have lived since 2003.
Contact me at ruthmiriam (at) protonmail (dot) com.
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See LinkedIn for my full list of published work.