About Tara McClellan McAndrew

I've been a freelance writer for twentysomething years and have worked in a variety of media: radio, print, children's literature, plays, and documentaries. Although I was a theater major for a time, I got my bachelor's degree in English and my master's degree in public affairs reporting.
 
My professional life began at the National Public Radio station in my hometown of Springfield, Illinois where I covered state government. Yes, with a state as corrupt as Illinois, the job was never dull.  

Even so, I branched out and covered other topics. I had pieces produced on Illinois Public Radio, National Public Radio, and Christian Science MonitoRadio, and I helped produce pieces for the BBC, Soundprint, and Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

My articles have been printed in: The Hollywood Reporter, Chicago Tribune Magazine, Back Stage, Illinois Issues, Christian Parenting Today, Cobblestone, Odyssey, and dozens of other publications.
 
But some stories are best told on stage. I've written five full-length plays and several one-act scripts; more than half were commissioned by historical sites or agencies, including: Lincoln's Home National Historic Site and the Looking for Lincoln Coalition, among others. All of my scripts have been produced.
 
In the last ten years, I've specialized in writing about history, especially the history of central Illinois and Abraham Lincoln. You might say both are a part of me. My roots grow deep in central Illinois and my ancestors knew Springfield, Illinois' greatest export personally. One opposed Lincoln in court and the other borrowed money from him. Everybody wants ties to Lincoln, but these weren't exactly what I was hoping for. They do make good stories, though.

Awards

Illinois State Historical Society, 2013
Superior Achievement to Clayville Historic Site for my play, "Prairie Dreams"
 
Illinois State Historical Society, 2012
Superior Achievement for my local history newspaper column
 
Sangamon State University/University of Illinois Springfield Alumni Writers Collective, et al, 2011
The Jacqueline Jackson Creative Writing Award for Nonfiction
 
Southern California Genealogical Society Family and Local History Writing Contest, 2004 and 2012
First Place and Finalist, respectively

Grants

Sangamon County Historical Society, 2014
Grant to turn my history columns into radio pieces

Springfield Area Arts Council, 2007
Rosie Richmond Artist Advancement Award for playwriting