Thursday, February 18, 2010


Although I'm no longer SWWJ Overseas Liaison Officer - eight years in post and now handling publicity and archives - I still like to keep in touch with our members overseas I contact Maggie Van Ostrand from time to time to see what she is up to.

Maggie was born in New York but due to a strong westerly wind, she now lives in California. She gets an abundance of column fodder from the entertainment industry, her two dogs, kids, and especially the U.S. Congress (than which nothing on earth is funnier). She stays busy ghostwriting for TV sitcoms and stand-up comics, judging various humour contests like Erma Bombeck Humor Writers and Arizona Press Club's Best Humour Column, writing for hard-copy and online magazines and newspapers. Her columns appear in numerous newspapers, and run the gamut from teen movie fans to political satire to expatriates to senior citizens.

Maggie’s career took off following an account she wrote about a trip from Mexico, where she was then living, back to California to buy doggy treats. The scent of the treats wafting from her luggage throughout the L.A. airport, attracting the attention of security's drug-sniffing dogs. The result was so hilarious that she was asked to write about it for an English-language Mexican newspaper, following which the editor asked if she would like to pen a regular column. It was so popular, people clipped her column out and stuck it on their refrigerators. They suggested she send clips to big time U.S. newspapers. Can you imagine how much it cost her to mail a refrigerator? Her work was subsequently published in The Chicago Tribune and The Boston Globe amongst many.

She has the gift of making you smile while getting her point over. She did a two-hour interview with Horace J Digby for his radio show in Michigan, a show which has featured the great Bob Newhart and Dave Barry; did a pilot for a Lifetime series, "You're Not The Man I Married;" did a documentary for award-winning producers which will be submitted at Sundance; and was selected as a Woman of Significance, recording a podcast in the midwest. To read more about Maggie, visit