A Bit About Me

Award winning writer Judith Pearson’s career began in a tree: a wonderful old maple in her parents’ backyard, with a perfect branch on which to sit and spill out her thoughts. Now hundreds of thousands of words later, this Michigan native is still writing.

A graduate of Michigan State University, Pearson has written two decades worth of newspaper, magazine and online articles, and has published four books. The first, Belly of the Beast: A POW’s Inspiring True Story of Faith, Courage and Survival Aboard a WWII Hell Ship (2001, New American Library, and to be re-released in November, 2021), details the experiences of Naval corpsman Estel Myers, his selfless work among his fellow POWS in the Philippine Islands, and their horrific journey aboard the last Japanese “hell ship.”

Pearson's next book was The Wolves at the Door: The True Story of America’s Greatest Female Spy (2008, Lyons Press). Baltimore born Virginia Hall became a spy for the British, was nearly captured by the Nazis in France, and returned as a spy for the United States. And she did it all with a wooden leg. The rights to this book have been purchased for a movie. A diagnosis of Triple Negative Breast Cancer caused Pearson to depart from biographies to write her third book: It’s Just Hair: 20 Essential Life Lessons. It was selected as a 2012 International Book Award finalist.

From Shadows to Life: A Biography of the Cancer Survivorship Movement (2021, Lincoln Square Books) was Pearson's next foray into writing about war: this time, the War on Cancer. It was during the research for Shadows that Pearson was introduced to the amazing work of Mary Lasker, her current biography project.

Away from her writing career, Pearson is the founder of A 2nd Act, a nonprofit that supports and celebrates women survivors of all cancers who are using their gifts of life and experience to give back to the greater good. The organization has given her great entrée into all aspects of the cancer community. Her work in survivorship was recognized by the American Association of Cancer Researchers in their 2014 Annual Report. She was named one of Chicago’s most inspirational women and a Phoenix Healthcare Hero.

Pearson is a member of the American Association of the History of Medicine, Biographers International Organization, the Arizona Authors Association, Arizona Women for the Arts (as a founding member), and the Michigan State Alumni Organization.

She and her husband live at the base of the Phoenix Mountain Preserve. And she still climbs trees!