The Bio Dome
Zachary Petit is a freelance journalist and editor, and a lifelong literary and design nerd. Previously, he served as the content director of the HOW+PRINT brands, editor-in-chief of the National Magazine Award–winning publication PRINT, managing editor of Writer’s Digest magazine, and executive editor of several related newsstand titles. Alongside the thousands of articles he has penned as a staff writer and editor, covering everything from the secret lives of mall Santas to creative legends, his words regularly appear in National Geographic Kids, and have also popped up in the pages of National Geographic, Mental_Floss, Melissa Rossi’s What Every American Should Know book series, McSweeney’s Internet Tendency and many other outlets. He is the author of The Essential Guide to Freelance Writing: How to Write, Work and Thrive On Your Own Terms (Fall 2015), Treat Ideas Like Cats (Fall 2016), and co-author of A Year of Writing Prompts: 366 Story Ideas for Honing Your Craft and Eliminating Writer’s Block. He works above a Victorian bowling alley turned illegal gambling hall turned punk club turned cab company turned brewery. One time Anne Rice kinda-sorta quoted him.
It’s kind of tricky: Zachary Petit may sometimes say he’s from Cincinnati, but in reality he hails from Northern Kentucky, a one-minute jaunt across the Ohio River. Problem is, most Kentuckians disavow Northern Kentuckians for hailing from non-Southern stock, while Cincinnatians write off Northern Kentuckians as, well, mere Kentuckians. Thus, being from Northern Kentucky is a bit like being native to a midwestern black hole (albeit a charming one).
Anyway, Zac eventually left this rogue territory to attend Butler University in Indianapolis, and somewhere along the way jump-started his working life in a kaleidoscope of jobs—everything from popcorn vendor to website developer to bookstore barista to retail clerk to theater attendant to copy editor to photographer to package loader to hired hand helping an eccentric legendary newspaper editor clean out his garage. In Washington, D.C., he worked as an intern at National Geographic magazine before returning to the Midwest. He later found himself spending time as a researcher and contributor for an internationally published author, turned up in Northern Ohio as a daily beat reporter writing about everything from unsolved murders to dog whisperers, and wrote scores of articles as a staff writer/photographer/arts and entertainment editor at a weekly city paper.
For years, he served as the managing editor (and, for a time, interim editor-in-chief) of Writer’s Digest magazine, executive editor of the newsstand magazines Writer’s Workbook, Writer’s Yearbook and Writing Basics, and senior managing editor of HOW magazine and Print magazine, before becoming Print's award-winning editor-in-chief.
When not toying with words, his photographs have appeared in numerous publications and products, including National Geographic Kids, Writer’s Digest, A-Line magazine, and Chuck Sambuchino’s political humor book Red Dog/Blue Dog (where he had the pleasure of documenting a chihuahua in a smoking jacket with a brandy snifter, and a basset hound dressed as a psychiatrist).
These days he’s a freelance writer, author and adjunct journalism professor, he’s forever slightly uncomfortable referring to himself in third person and he lives near his native gray area—although he’s still not exactly sure where to say he’s from. (Given his proclivity for bourbon, let's just go with Kentucky.)