Fenton Johnson

Professor, Emeritus
Fenton Johnson is the author of At the Center of All Beauty: Solitude and the Creative Life, forthcoming from W.W. Norton in March, 2020 and based on an earlier Harper’s Magazine cover essay. He is the author as well of three novels, The Man Who Loved Birds; Scissors, Paper, Rock; and Crossing the River. In nonfiction, he has authored the Lambda Award-winning Geography of the Heart: A Memoir and Keeping Faith: A Skeptic's Journey among Christian and Buddhist Monks, a meditation on what it means for a skeptic to have and keep faith. Johnson has contributed cover essays to Harper's Magazine (including Going It Alone: The Dignity and Challenge of Solitude, for which he was interviewed on National Publiic Radio’s Fresh Air; and The Future of Queer. He has written as well for the New York Times Magazine, where he is a former staff writer. He has received fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts in both fiction and creative nonfiction, two Lambda Literary Awards, a Kentucky Literary Award in creative nonfiction, and the American Library Association Award for best gay/lesbian nonfiction. He has written narrations and scripts for award-winning independent documentaries shown on PBS’s Frontline and at the Sundance Film Festival, most notably Stranger with a Camera, produced through Appalshop, the southern Appalachian cultural center, and a recipient of a Columbia / Dupont Journalism Award. Fenton conducts creative writing workshops across the country. He lectures on issues of faith and spirituality, as well as on the role of the arts and humanities in medicine and caregiving. He is on the faculty of the creative writing program at the University of Arizona and the brief-residency program of Spalding University in Louisville, Kentucky.