Lori Jakiela

  • Professor of English and Creative Writing

Lori Jakiela is the author of the memoir Belief Is Its Own Kind of Truth, Maybe (Atticus Books; Autumn House Press), which received the Saroyan Prize, was a finalist for the Council of Literary Magazines and Small Presses Firecracker Award and the Housatonic Book Award, and was named one of 20 Not-to-Miss Nonfiction Books of 2015 by The Huffington Post.

Her latest book, They Write Your Name on a Grain of Rice: On Cancer, Love, and Living Even So (Atticus Books) was published in fall 2023. Excerpts from that book were nominated for The Pushcart Prize and Best of the ‘Net, and are anthologized in Best of Brevity: 20 Groundbreaking Years of Creative Nonfiction (Rose Metal Press) and elsewhere.

She is the author of two other memoirs – Miss New York Has Everything (Hatchette) and The Bridge to Take When Things Get Serious (C&R Press; WPA Press), as well as a poetry collection, Spot the Terrorist (Turning Point Press), an essay collection, Portrait of the Artist as a Bingo Worker (Bottom Dog Press), and several limited-edition chapbooks.  Her full-length poetry collection – How Do You Like It Now, Gentlemen? Poems at Mid-Life – won Brickhouse Books’ 2021 Wicked Woman Award and was featured as a Fall 2022 Pittsburgh City Paper Book Club read.

Her work has been published in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Chicago Tribune, The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, The Rumpus, Brevity, Vol. 1 Brooklyn, Pittsburgh Quarterly, and elsewhere. She has been featured on NPR and on WBUR in Boston as part of The New York Times’ Modern Love Podcast, where actress Kristen Bell read Jakiela’s Modern Love essay, “The Plain Unmarked Box Arrived.” That essay has been transformed into a stage monologue by “Listen to Your Mother” founder Ann Imig and has been performed in various venues across the country.

Jakiela can also be seen locally in the PBS documentary, “People Who Write Books Around Here,” by Pittsburgh legendary filmmaker Rick Sebak. She writes a quarterly column for Pittsburgh Magazine called “Let Yourself Go,” about adventures and misadventures in mid-life. Throughout the pandemic, she wrote a monthly column, also for Pittsburgh Magazine, called “Stories of Our Neighbors,” which told the stories of so-called ordinary people in extraordinary times. Jakiela directs the undergraduate writing program at the University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg, where she is a professor of English and Creative/Professional Writing. She teaches courses in creative nonfiction, journalism, digital storytelling, writing and healing arts, and more. Her author website is https://lorijakiela.net.