A native of Fort Dodge, Iowa, John T. Price was raised within a loving, multi-generational family who instilled in him an appreciation for the beauty of nature, the wisdom of ancestral stories, the urgency of social justice, the responsibilities of faith, and the healing power of a good laugh. His childhood home was filled with books, which he often picked up to embark on new adventures, connect with characters both human and animal, or to learn something new about the world—a restless curiosity that continues to inform his life and writing.
John attended the University of Iowa, where he earned a BA in Religion, MFA in Nonfiction Writing, and PhD in English. He has authored five creative nonfiction books, often using humor to explore the wildish intersections of nature, family, community and spirit—with a special love for the prairies and oak-lands of his Midwestern home. These include All is Leaf: Essays and Transformations (U. of Iowa Press, 2022), Daddy Long legs: The Natural Education of a Father (Trumpeter/Shambhala, 2013), Man Killed by Pheasant and Other Kinships (Merloyd Lawrence Books/Da Capo Press, 2008; Paperback, U. of Iowa Press), and Not Just Any Land: A Personal and Literary Journey into the American Grasslands (U. of Nebraska Press, 2004). He is also the editor of The Tallgrass Prairie Reader (U. of Iowa Press, 2014), the first historical collection of nature writing entirely dedicated to the beauty and fragility of the tallgrass region.
A recipient of a prose fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, as well as other recognitions, his nonfiction has appeared in such print publications as Orion, The Christian Science Monitor, Creative Nonfiction, Fourth Genre, The Iowa Review, and the online journals, Brevity.com, Essay Daily, and Terrain.org. His work has been reprinted in a number of anthologies, including Best Spiritual Writing 2000 (Harper, 2001), In Brief: Short Takes on the Personal (Norton, 1999), Creative Writing: Four Genres in Brief (MacMillan, 2020), How We Speak to One Another: An Essay Daily Reader (Coffee House Press,2017), and most recently, Dear America: Letters of Hope, Habitat, Defiance and Democracy (Trinity University Press, 2020), alongside Robin Wall Kimmerer, Fancisco Cantú, Linda Hogan, Arthur Sze and others.
His books have received numerous positive endorsements and reviews. The Boston Globe has compared writing to Thoreau’s and Anne Lamott’s, and The Chicago Tribune stated that he “brilliantly depicts the gift of letting go, of continuity, by revealing the resilient presence of his own family/childhood.” Novelist and national radio host Kurt Anderson has called him a “gifted storyteller” and his work “the perfect nonfiction companion to the stories of Garrison Keillor and the movies of Alexander Payne.” Kathleen Dean Moore compares him to E.B. White, and among “America’s best essayists.” Robert Michael Pyle writes that “John Price parses the natural history of a human family in all its mortality and wider habitat as well as anyone I’ve read in years.” The Iowan states, “If David Sedaris and Annie Dillard had a literary love child and raised him in Iowa, he would write like this.”
John enjoys sharing his work and speaking with varied audiences of all ages. He has given numerous readings to bookstore audiences, invited talks with students, environmental organizations and book clubs, and conference keynote addresses—nationally and internationally. His nonfiction has been assigned reading in creative writing courses, environmental studies courses, and first-year writing and literature courses at universities and colleges across the country. He is an award-winning teacher and Regents/Foundation Distinguished Professor at the University of Nebraska at Omaha, where he directs the English Department’s Creative Nonfiction Writing Program, as well as serving as a faculty member at the Goldstein Center for Human Rights. He is also an Emeritus Fellow at the Black Earth Institute.
He is most proud of his family: his wife Stephanie and their three sons, Benjamin, Spencer and Alden. Together, they have made their home in the beautiful Loess Hills of western Iowa, where John continues to discover new wonders every day.