David Giffels

Creative Nonfiction |  Campus Coordinator | The University of Akron
Image of David Giffels


Phone | (330) 972-6604
Email | dg36@uakron.edu
Web | www.davidgiffels.com

Recent Publications


Barnstorming Ohio. Hachette Books. August 2020. 
FURNISHING ETERNITY: A Father, a Son, a Coffin, and a Measure of Life. Scribner/Simon & Schuster, January 2018.
THE HARD WAY ON PURPOSE: Essays and Dispatches From the Rust Belt. Scribner/Simon & Schuster, March, 2014.
ALL THE WAY HOME: Building a Family in a Falling-down House. William Morrow/HarperCollins, June 2008.


“Unreal Estates.” Essay introduction to The New Heartland: Looking for the American Dream, by Andrew Borowiec, George F. Thompson Publishing, September 2, 2019.
Dumbphone.” The Iowa Review, Winter 2018/2019.
Shirt Worthy.” (Reprint in “The Best of Our ‘Lives’ Column”). The New York Times Magazine, March 24, 2017.
Dispatch from a Ghost Town.” The Atlantic, July 22, 2016.
“No Place Like Akron.” Parade, June 22, 2014.
The Taj Majal.” Esquire, April 19, 2014.
The Chosen Ones: LeBron and Akron.” Grantland, March 21, 2014.

About David

David Giffels has written six books of nonfiction, most recently Barnstorming Ohio: To Understand America (Hachette Books, 2020), described by Publishers Weekly as a “trenchant mix of memoir, reportage, and political analysis.” His other titles include the memoir Furnishing Eternity: A Father, a Son, a Coffin, and a Measure of Life (Scribner, 2018), a Book of the Month pick by Amazon and Powell’s and a New York Times Book Review “Editors’ Choice,” and winner of the Ohioana Book Award.

His previous books include The Hard Way on Purpose: Essays and Dispatches From the Rust Belt (Scribner 2014), a New York Times Book Review “Editors’ Choice” and nominee for the PEN/ Diamonstein-Spielvogel Award for the Art of the Essay, and the memoir All the Way Home (William Morrow/HarperCollins 2008), winner of the Ohioana Book Award.

​Giffels is the coauthor, with Jade Dellinger, of the rock biography Are We Not Men? We Are Devo! and, with Steve Love, Wheels of Fortune: The Story of Rubber in Akron.

A former Akron Beacon Journal columnist, his writing has appeared in The New York Times Magazine, the Atlantic.com, Parade, The Wall Street Journal, Esquire.com, Grantland.com, The Iowa Review, and many other publications. He also wrote for the MTV series Beavis and Butt-Head.

His awards include the Cleveland Arts Prize for literature, the Ohio Arts Council Individual Excellence Award, and a General Excellence award from National Society of Newspaper Columnists. He was selected as the Cuyahoga County Public Library Writer in Residence for 2018-2019.

Where did you grow up?

Akron, Ohio.

What is one of your favorite places in Akron?

Cadillac Hill.

Your most awkward moment with a famous writer?

I pulled a string to (I thought) join Dave Eggers for dinner before a reading at Playhouse Square. He’s one of my favorite writers. It turns out “dinner” was two stainless steel covered catering dishes delivered to a tiny theater dressing room—one for him and one for the evening’s emcee. I was already in the room and couldn’t find a graceful way to depart. The meals—chicken breast, potatoes, and green beans—were delivered without silverware. Eggers, on a tight schedule and not wanting to be a bother, sheepishly began eating with his fingers. I wished him well and slunk to the lobby and out onto Euclid Avenue.

What’s on your nightstand right now?

The Beastie Boys Book, Lawrence Wright’s God Save Texas, Rachel Kushner’s The Flamethrowers, Best American Essays 2018, Karl Ove Knausgaard’s Autumn, Timex clock radio, empty martini glass.

Your craziest/most interesting teacher?

Sister Benita, my freshman-year English teacher at St. Vincent-St. Mary High School in Akron. She was an ancient hyper-grammarian. We diagrammed sentences; we practiced pronunciation; we were drilled on all the rules of usage. (Including the proper pronunciation of “usage.”) It was like boot camp for writing. I’ve always been thankful for it.

Your best piece of advice for a young writer?

Read, read, read.

If you could have a superpower what superpower would it be?

Prince: in concert.

In two sentences or less what does the NEOMFA mean to you?

It’s the best writing community I’ve ever been a part of.