Lisa Knopp

Lisa Knopp is the author of seven books. 

Her first five books are collections of essays about Midwestern nature and places. In What the River Carries: Encounters with the Mississippi, Missouri, and Platte (2012), for instance, Lisa explores the natural and cultural history of the Mississippi, Missouri, and Platte, rivers that she has come to know and cherish. 

With her sixth book, Bread: A Memoir of Hunger (2016), Lisa departed from nature and place-based writing to address the little-discussed phenomenon of eating disorders and disordered eating among older women. Through research and personal story, she explores the nature of hunger, desire, yearning, nourishment, sustenance, fulfillment, and contentment. 

Lisa’s newest book, From Your Friend, Carey Dean: Letters from Nebraska’s Death Row (2022), is a memoir/biography about her 23-year friendship with Carey Dean Moore, who’d murdered two Omaha cab drivers in 1979 and for which he was executed by lethal injection in 2018. From Your Friend, Carey Dean, tells two other stories, as well. One is that of a broken correctional system (Nebraska’s prisons are overcrowded, understaffed, and underfunded, and excessive in their use of solitary confinement), and what it’s like to be incarcerated there, which Carey frequently spoke and wrote about. The other is the story of how a double murderer was transformed and nourished by his faith in God’s promises. Though Carey and Lisa were different types of Christians (he was a Biblical literalist and an evangelical; she is a Biblical contextualist with progressive leanings), they shared an abiding faith in God’s love and grace.

Lisa’s essays have appeared in many of the best publications, including Shenandoah, Gettysburg Review, Michigan Quarterly Review, Missouri Review, Connecticut Review, Creative Nonfiction, Iowa Review, Prairie Schooner, Northwest Review, Georgia Review, Brevity, and Seneca Review. Seven of her essays have received notable essay citations in the Best American Essays series. She is the recipient of two literature fellowships from the Nebraska Arts Council and numerous state, national, and international writing awards.

Lisa was born and raised in Burlington, Iowa, a Mississippi River town. She was educated at Iowa Wesleyan College, Western Illinois University, and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Since 2005, she’s been a professor of English at the University of Nebraska-Omaha where she teaches courses in creative nonfiction, including food writing, travel writing, and a seminar in experimental forms. She’s a certified Reiki practitioner, and she enjoys mentoring children and adults at Heartland Big Brothers Big Sisters, Lincoln Literacy, and TeamMates Mentoring Program. Lisa has a grown son and daughter. She lives in Lincoln, Nebraska with her two cats, Morwenna and Janko Noam Chomsky.

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