David Giffels

Nonfiction | NEOMFA Campus Coordinator | The University of Akron
Gif of the various faces of David Giffels


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

Recent Publications


“Unreal Estates.” Essay introduction to The New Heartland: Looking for the American Dream, by Andrew Borowiec, George F. Thompson Publishing, forthcoming 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’ most recent book, The Hard Way on Purpose: Essays and Dispatches From the Rust Belt (Scribner, 2014) was selected as a New York Times Book Review “Editors’ Choice” and shortlisted for the Great Lakes Independent Booksellers Association “Great Lakes Great Reads” Award. He is also author of All the Way Home: Building a Family in a Falling-Down House (William Morrow/HarperCollins, 2008), winner of the Ohioana Book Award. Giffels is coauthor of Are We Not Men? We Are Devo! (SAF Publishing, 2004) and Wheels of Fortune: The Story of Rubber in Akron (University of Akron Press, 1998). His essays have been anthologized in Moms and Dads: From the ‘Lives’ Columns of The New York Times (New York Times Publishing, 2014), Rust Belt Chic: The Cleveland Anthology (RBC Press, 2012), The American Midwest: An Interpretive Encyclopedia (Indiana University Press, 2006) and The Appalachians: America’s First and Last Frontier (Random House, 2004).

He has written for the New York Times Magazine, Wall Street Journal, Parade, ESPN’s Grantland, Esquire.com, Redbook and many other publications. He also was a writer for the MTV series Beavis and Butt-Head.

His recent awards include the Cleveland Arts Prize for literature, an Ohio Arts Council Individual Artist Grant, and the National Society of Newspaper Columnists Award for Excellence.

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.

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English Department
Kent State University
P.O. Box 5190
Kent, Ohio 44242