Journalist, Humorist, Novelist

Rebecca Coffey

Rebecca Coffey

Bio and Samples


Coffey is an award-winning and widely published science journalist as well as a humorist and novelist. Her most recent science work is:

Science Journalism

Coffey contributes to prominent magazines and newspapers like Scientific American, Discover, The Chicago Tribune, The Seattle Times, The New York Daily News, Psychology Today, JSTOR Daily and Dame Magazine, as well as to a variety of radio and television outlets. She has also written and produced three award-winning science documentaries for broadcast.


Samples from Scientific American

Samples from Discover Magazine

  • Hiking Las Vegas. Just a few miles from the perfectly enclosed, artificial worlds of the Strip’s casinos, there lie some beautiful and accessible spectacles of nature.
  • Winemaking: Science, Nature, and Fancy Footwork. Each glass tells you something about the wine’s milieu as well as the vintner’s approach.
  • A host of articles including many “20 Things You Didn’t Know about…” ones, for Discover Magazine. (Page upon page. They’re fun. Just keep clicking.)

Sample from The Chicago Tribune

Sample from The Seattle Times

Sample from JSTOR Daily

  • Darwin in Love. Charles Darwin, who of all people should have known better, married his first cousin. Did his love for Emma color his later works?

Sample from the The New York Daily News

Samples from Psychology Today

  • The Human Animal. Our animal nature is undeniable. Is beastly behavior inevitable?

Sample from Dame Magazine

  • The Brain Science Behind Conspiracy Theories. It might not be a lack of intelligence that leads many to believe wild—and wildly inaccurate—information, but instead our mind’s way of protecting us from feelings of isolation and despair.


Coffey has also authored three books of science journalism.

Unspeakable Truths and Happy Endings (Sidran, 1998)

With the tales of 15 survivors of catastrophic human cruelty at its narrative core, Unspeakable Truths & Happy Endings examines both the necessity and difficulty of compassionate, sensible listening to survivors’ tales of trauma. Along the way, the book addresses the controversies about victimhood and recovered memory. It concludes that, as thinking and caring inhabitants of a menacing world, we must all learn to hear unspeakable truths. At the same time that we risk accepting the truths about violence and degradation that survivors’ memories hold, we must reasonably engage critical thinking when memories of violence and degradation stretch the limits of our credulity. We owe it to survivors to listen compassionately; we owe it to ourselves to listen prudently.

Unspeakable Truths was chosen as one of 1998’s Outstanding Academic Books by Choice: Current Reviews for Academic Libraries. Writing in Choice, L.S. Beall called Unspeakable Truths “one of the most important books written on trauma in this decade.”

Murders Most Foul and the School Shooters in Our Midst (Vook, 2012)

  • How can parents, teachers, community members, and even school children help ward off school massacres? Murders Most Foul examines the counter-massacre strategy that the FBI favors over its failed “school shooter profile” approach. Murders Most Foul: And the School Shooters in Our Midst has been featured on WNYC’s “The Takeaway,” Fox News’s “Happening Now,” KPCC’s “Air Talk with Larry Mantle,” WAMC’s “51 Percent,” and WPKN’s “A Miniature World.”

Science and Lust (Beck and Branch, 2018)

  • What can rats in polyester pants teach humans about sex? Are the wives of tall men really happier? Why do even “good guys” act like apes? How are extramarital affairs dangerous to a man’s health? Who says pornography can be politically correct? And is it true that women can’t always tell when they’re sexually aroused? In twelve lively essays with all data pulled from peer-reviewed research, Science and Lust addresses the conundrums of mating in the 21st century. Kirkus Revews called Science and Lust “entertaining and envelope-pushing popular science. … This offbeat collection should appeal to fans of author Mary Roach.” The Midwest Book Review called it “[an] absorbing read which puts the ‘lively’ back into matters and draws direct connections between modern sexual activities, dilemmas and questions, and the latest scientific findings.”


Coffey started out in science journalism as a documentary writer, producer, and director. She made three highly acclaimed, nationally broadcast television documentaries about health and mental health. These programs received the Cine Golden Eagle, the American Film & Video Festival’s Red Ribbon, the Columbus International Film Festival’s Silver Plaque, and other awards.  Excerpts from the most acclaimed of these documentaries (a program about anxiety disorders) were twice featured on the Oprah Winfrey Show.

When she lived in Vermont Coffey was a commentator on Vermont Public Radio, contributing pieces about social issues, education, science, health, and mental health.  


Coffey’s humor has appeared in McSweeney’s Internet Tendency and The Rumpus. Nietzsche’s Angel Food Cake: And Other Recipes for the Intellectually Famished was published in 2013 by Beck and Branch.

Sample from McSweeney’s Internet Tendency

Sample from The Rumpus

From Defenestration:

Info about Nietzsche’s 


Hysterical: Anna Freud’s Story (She Writes Press, 2014)

  • Imagine growing up gay in a household where your world-renowned father calls lesbianism a gateway to mental illness. It is always, he said, caused by the father, and it is usually curable by psychoanalysis.

Now imagine that he analyzes you.

Weaving a grand tale out of a pile of crazy facts, Hysterical: Anna Freud’s Story lets the pioneering child psychologist freely examine the forces that shaped her life. Booklist called it “avidly researched, shrewd, and unnerving” as well as “complexly entertaining, sexually dramatic, [and] acidly funny.” LAMDA Literary said it’s “got a plot so rife with tension it’ll make you squirm.” Hysterical was named a 2015 “Over the Rainbow” book by the American Library Association.