author · editor · journalist
Hi. I'm pleased to make your acquaintance.
I was a late bloomer as a professional writer. I tried a lot of other jobs first. I was a librarian at a paranormal society. A community organizer. A book and magazine editor. A bartender. A manager of homeless shelters. Then, in my late 30s, I had an idea for a book that I knew I had to write.
Drinking with Men: A Memoir was selected as one of 2013's best books by Library Journal and National Public Radio. My second book, Becoming a Sommelier, was named one of 2019's best wine books in The New York Times. My next book, The Slow Road North: How I Found Peace in an Improbable Country, will be out in 2022.
From 2011 to 2017, I was the "Drink" columnist for The New York Times Magazine, and I've also written for Food & Wine, The New York Times Book Review, Lucky Peach, Marie Claire, poetryfoundation.com, and Travel + Leisure, among other publications. My essays appear in anthologies including Eat Joy: Stories & Comfort Food from 31 Celebrated Writers and Goodbye to All That: Writers on Loving and Leaving New York.
I've told stories on the radio show This American Life and at many live storytelling events. I love giving talks and readings. I've been called one of "50 Writers You Need to See Read Live," and it's likely that I would be delighted to participate in your reading series or festival or panel discussion.
Lately, I've been writing screenplays, too, and if I'd known how much fun it is, I wouldn't have waited so long.
Born and raised in New York City, I now live in the Glens of Antrim in Northern Ireland, a terrifically beautiful place you should visit sometime. I enjoy the robins and blackbirds in my backyard, walking in the forest, reading, feeding my friends (and sometimes strangers) the things I cook, teaching, and traveling. I would probably also like writing or editing for your magazine or newspaper, consulting on your manuscript or book proposal, or being graced by your presence in one of my online classrooms.
Thanks for stopping by.
Would you like to read something I wrote?
I appreciate your interest.
I may be best known for writing about food and (especially) drink. But I'm proud to be a generalist with bylines in six sections of The New York Times, who can also cover books, art, crafts, travel, design, music, and sometimes even sports—because people and the things they make and do are endlessly interesting. Here's a small sampler of my articles, columns, essays, even a poem.
NEW ONLINE WORKSHOP!
Life Writing: On Food & Drink
Six weeks, starting 26 October 2021
When is a dinner more than a dinner? When it’s also a lens through which to see a world, a framework within which to consider an idea or event or relationship, even a platform from which to advocate for justice. When we write personal essays about food and drink, we are also telling the stories of our lives and the lives of others. This course is appropriate for essayists, memoirists, journalists— any writer who has ever considered the meaning of a meal.
Workshop discussions of students’ writing will be at the heart of each two-hour session. We will also read works by Ciaran Carson, E.R. Murray, Michael Pollan, Michelle Zauner, and others, which, taken together, convey some sense of the breadth, depth, and creative range possible in writing about food and drink. Students will write one short piece (300-600 words) and one longer essay (1200-2000 words), each centred on a dish, a drink, or another food memory.
– This class is now fully booked –
Get in touch!
Are you thinking of assigning me a story?
Considering taking a workshop with me?
Would you like help with a book proposal?
Or with a manuscript?
Do you have a gardening tip to share?
A sad old song you want to sing to me?
Please send me a message.
I'll send one back. If you seem nice.