Brendan Curtinrich

Brendan Curtinrich ‘13

Freelance Writer

Creative Writing Major

“If Hiram taught me anything, it’s that it’s okay — great, even — to be unconventional,” says Brendan Curtinrich ’13. Curtinrich admits that his path after graduating from Hiram hasn’t been a direct course, working jobs in a quilt shop, a sheep farm and a chestnut orchard among others. “The circuitous path full of waysides is much more interesting than the express lane to retirement,” he says. “Some jobs advanced my career as a writer, gave me bylines, time to write, or helped me make contacts in the industry, but others were just a way to make some money so I could hike in the mountains for another four months.”

Just after graduating from Hiram with his major in creative writing, he embarked on a thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail, which runs through 14 states and covers more than 2,000 miles. In the years since, he has also traveled the Continental Divide and the Pacific Crest Trail, earning him the honor known as the Triple Crown. Even during his travels, his former professors at Hiram have remained connected. “They are invested in my success to this very day,” he says. “They have demonstrated that by writing letters of recommendation, sending along job opportunities, meeting me for lunch, and even sending me homemade cookies while I was away on my hikes.”

As a freelance writer, each day is different for Curtinrich, from talking to editors and publishers about projects to writing book reviews. He credits the faculty at Hiram for showing him how to hone his craft. “Hiram was the first place I really received rigorous advice and instruction on writing,” he says. “My instructors at Hiram did the real labor of laying the foundation for all future learning and refinement.”

Looking back on his education at Hiram, Curtinrich values the skills he gained and the lessons he learned that have enabled him to take each next step: “Gather as much knowledge and as many skills — inside and outside of the classroom — as you can, and don’t mind if the path after graduation is a little bit winding.”