Welcome to my website! I'm the author of six award-winning books of creative nonfiction, the most recent of which is Bread: A Memoir of Hunger (University of Missouri Press, fall 2016). I'm a Professor of English at the University of Nebraska-Omaha where I teach courses in creative nonfiction. Please email me if you would like me to give a reading or book talk or visit your book club.
Here's a link to my interview with Kathryn Zox, the "social worker with a microphone." https://www.voiceamerica.com/episode/95842/sudden-loss-and-an-eating-disorder
My essay, "Mashed Avocado on a Rice Cake (Basic Recipe with a Variation)" has been accepted for publication by the Seneca Review for the fall 2017 issue. This from the editor, David Weiss: "A lovely piece (anxiously so!) that John D'Agata both like enormously. Longest, simplest recipe I know." Yup. Three ingredients; 19 pages of instructions. Here's a paragraph from the middle of the essay:
I have to reach pretty far into the past to pull up a memory of a time in which I saw food not as chemical constituents with clear and measurable effects on my health, but through the broader context. Even so, I remember with clarity my mother’s cherry pie. As a child and young adult, it didn’t matter a whit to me that it was made with lots of white sugar. Then, I didn’t know the dangers lurking in Red 40, enriched, bleached wheat flour “improved” with potassium bromate, and Crisco, as the latter was made prior to 2007, the year when the J. M. Smucker Company replaced some of the trans fats in Crisco with the marginally healthier soybean oil, fully hydrogenated palm oil, palm oil, and mono and diglycerides. I especially loved a piece of that pie for breakfast, when it was cold and firm from having been refrigerated over night, such a different experience than the warm, runny, also delicious pie that Mom served for supper the day before. But whether warm or cold, I savored the sweet tartness, the bottom crust, more dense than flakey, the sugary lattice top, the fluting achieved by the press of my dear mother’s forefinger and thumb, the pleasure she took in making and feeding us pie. Oh, what I’d give now for a piece of that cold cherry pie!
I had the pleasure of talking with Ric Bratton about Bread: A Memoir of Hunger on "This Week in America" on November 9th. Here's the link to the interview. Please scroll down until you see my name.
My blog entry, posted on "Conversations from the Brink," explores the links between eating disorders and disordered eating and the hyper-consumerism of American culture.
"Our consumer culture teaches us that our appetites, whether for food, sex, electronics, petroleum, entertainment, diversion, consolation, revenge, or convenience, must be satisfied at once."