I grew up in the Blue Ridge Mountains near a creek made famous by the writer Annie Dillard. The closest city was 40 minutes away and had a bus station with a vending machine dispensing hot Dr. Pepper instead of coffee. The cheap wax cups went gummy in your hands from the heat.
Now I live in Baltimore city, this time by a river. My house was built in the 1840s, back when that rushing water was fuel for mill wheels making steel and sail cloth. The river likes to flood its banks now and again and remind everyone who is boss.
I make my living as a storyteller, and those stories take the shape that they require, which means I am at turns a journalist, an essayist, a fiction writer.
For nearly two decades, I have written about architecture, design, cities, and culture for magazines and websites. I am interested in the human motivations behind our built environment. I believe that what we build speaks volumes about who we are as a culture. When I write about a city or a building or an urban plan, I also write about human life and aspiration and the way in which our manmade culture impacts and informs our daily selves. My articles and essays have published in The New Yorker.com, The New York Times, The New York Times Magazine, Slate, Metropolis, The Atlantic’s CityLab, and Fast Company’s CoDesign, among many others. I am a contributing editor with Architect and Architectural Lighting magazines, and have been an editor with Fast Company, Metropolis, Johns Hopkins Magazine, Johns Hopkins Health Review, Next City, and Urbanite magazine, among others. I’ve also taught graduate-level writing at the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA), and continuing education courses at Johns Hopkins University.
My short stories and essays have been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and recognized in Best American Essays. I’ve been widely published in places like McSweeney’s, The Southern Review, PANK, TriQuarterly Review, Revolver, Post Road, Passages North, and The Little Patuxent Review. My essay “On Nostalgia” won the 2015 Hrushka Memorial Nonfiction Prize. My short story “A Modern Girl’s Guide to Childbirth” was selected by Roxane Gay as one of the 2015 Wigleaf Top 50 (very) Short Fiction winners. My short stories have also been a finalist for the Orlando Prize, the Raymond Carver Short Story Contest, and the Writers@Work Fellowship. In 2017, I won the Mary Sawyers Baker Prize in Literary Fiction.
My writing has been supported with fellowships and residencies from the Kenyon Review Writers Workshop, the Vermont Studio Center, the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, the Cuttyhunk Island Writers’ Residency, and Ragdale; and with grants from the Sustainable Arts Foundation, The Greater Baltimore Cultural Alliance, the Maryland State Arts Council, the Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation, the Rubys Artist Grant, and the Money for Women/Barbara Deming Memorial Fund. I am a 2018 NEA Creative Writing Fellow.
I am represented by Marya Spence at Janklow & Nesbit.
Contact: eedickinson [at] gmail [dot] com