We're very pleased to welcome award-winning essayist Lisa Knopp to this year's festival. Lisa's newest book, Bread: A Memoir of Hunger, was published by the University of Missouri Press in the fall of 2016. In it she tells the story of the restrictive eating that had left her sick and thin when she was 15 and 25 and that returned when she was deeply settled into the routines and responsibilities, the fulfillments and sorrows of midlife. Knopp embarks on a quest to understand her malady, why it returned when it did, and how to heal herself. In Bread, which is both an illness and a food memoir, she explores the genetic, biological, familial, psychological, spiritual, and cultural forces that cause eating disorders, a psychological illness and a clinical diagnosis, and disordered eating, an abnormal or maladaptive relationship with food, weight, body image, and self. It's a wonderfully compelling read.
Lisa is the author of six collections of essays, each of which explores the concepts of place, home, nature, and spirituality. Her collection, What the River Carries: Encounters with Mississippi, Missouri, and Platte (University of Missouri Press, 2012) was the winner of the 2013 Nebraska Book Award in the Nonfiction/Essay category and received honorable mention in the 2013 ASLE (Association for Study of Literature and Environment) book awards for environmental creative writing. Her essays have appeared in many of the best publications, including Shenandoah, Gettysburg Review, Michigan Quarterly Review, Missouri Review, Connecticut Review, Creative Nonfiction, Iowa Review, Prairie Schooner, and Northwest Review. Seven of her essays have received notable essay citations in the Best American Essays series (1991, 1994, 2001, 2001, 2008, 2010, 2015). Currently, she is working on a collection of autobiographical essays called Like Salt or Love: Essays on Leaving Home. Essays in that collection have been published in several journals, including Brevity: A Journal of Concise Literary nonfiction, Gettysburg Review, and Georgia Review.
Knopp was born and raised in Burlington in southeastern Iowa, and received her education at the University of Iowa, Iowa Wesleyan College, Western Illinois University, and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. She is a Professor of English at the University of Nebraska-Omaha, where she teaches courses in creative nonfiction (Travel Writing, Food Writing, Narrative Nonfiction, Modern Familiar Essay, and Experiments in Creative Nonfiction). Previously, she was a faculty mentor in the Master of Fine Arts Program in Creative Nonfiction at Goucher College in Baltimore, Maryland. She lives in Lincoln, Nebraska.