Nieman News

“Factory Man: How One Furniture Maker Battled Offshoring, Stayed Local—and Helped Save an American Town,” a book by Beth Macy, a 2010 Nieman Fellow, will be adapted for the small screen as an HBO miniseries produced by actor/director Tom Hanks. The book, which was published in July 2014 by Little, Brown, follows a resilient family-owned furniture business through the twentieth century and into the twenty-first, when offshoring forced many other American furniture makers, unable to compete with Chinese ones, to shutter their operations.

“It’s really exciting to see someone of that caliber values the story,” Macy said of Hanks’s decision to work on the project. Hanks had tweeted about the book to his eight million followers when it first came out saying “Great summer reading. I give it 42 stars. No, I give it 142 stars. Yeah, it’s THAT good.”

The HBO miniseries is just the latest in a string of accolades: “Factory Man” won the 2013 J. Anthony Lukas Work-in-Progress Award, which provides a writer with $30,000 to finish his or her book project, and was a New York Times bestseller.

Macy credited her book’s success in part to the support she received from the Nieman Foundation, which co-sponsors the Lukas Award. She added that Nieman also supported her in ways harder to quantify, describing her fellow 2010 Niemans, some of whom had already written books themselves, as “a giant support group.”

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