Memoir Flash & FictionCriticismBrief ReviewsEssaysShort pieces


“Modul de supraviețuire.” Scena9 4 (2021): 114-117.

The Professor.” Longreads, November 17, 2021.

Tongue Stuck.” The Rumpus, October 12, 2021.

Trash.” The Dalhousie Review 101.1 (2021).

How to Learn Everything: The MasterClass Diaries.” Longreads, August 20, 2020. 

Someone is Wrong on the Internet: A Study in Pandemic Distraction.” Literary Hub, June 19, 2020.

Home truths: A dispatch from Germany.” The Times Literary Supplement, April 24, 2020.

“O limbă lipită de cerul gurii.” Scena9 2 (2019-20): 192-197. 

“Reading Lessons.” How We Read: Tales, Fury, Nothing, Sound. Eds. Kaitlin Heller and Suzanne Conklin Akbari. Brooklyn: Punctum Books, 2019. 1-11.

The Kid Is All Right: In Defense of Picky Eating.” Serious Eats, February 13, 2018.

An Unreliable Alchemy.” The Marginalia Review of Books, November 10, 2017.

Swan, Late: The Unexpected Joys of Adult Beginner Ballet.” Longreads. February 7, 2017.

  • “Essays of the Decade,” on Queen Mob’s Review of the DecadeQueen Mob’s Teahouse, December 28, 2019. 
  • “Notable Essays and Literary Nonfiction of 2017” in The Best American Essays 2018, eds. Hilton Als and Robert Atwan. Boston and New York: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2018.

The Things We Take, The Things We Leave Behind.” Southwest Review 101.1 (2016): 13-29.

  • Winner of a McGinnis-Ritchie Award for nonfiction from the Southwest Review.
  • Published in Romanian as “Lucrurile pe care le luăm cu noi, lucrurile pe care le lăsăm în urmă,” translated by Iulia Gorzo, in Scena9, September 30, 2019.
  • Scena9‘s 2019 “Un calendar ilustrat.”
  • “Notable Essays and Literary Nonfiction of 2016” in Best American Essays 2017, eds. Leslie Jamison and Robert Atwan. Boston and New York: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2017.
  • Nominated for a Pushcart Prize.

Dance, Mama.” The Manifest-Station. September 26, 2015.

My Father and the Wine.” The Yale Review 103.2 (2015): 51-64.

  • Reprinted in Wine Reads: A Literary Anthology of Wine Writing, ed. Jay McInerney. New York: Atlantic Monthly Press, 2018. 295-309.
  • Reprinted in The Best American Essays 2016, eds. Jonathan Franzen and Robert Atwan. Boston and New York: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2016. 56-68.
  • Nominated for the MFK Fisher Distinguished Writing Award, from the James Beard Foundation, March 2016.
  • Translated into Chinese by Chunhui Li. Posted with permission here.
  • Longreads roundup Six James Beard Finalists You Might Have Missed: A Reading List
  • Audio version featured in Choice Magazine Listening’s Fall 2015 issue.

Currywurst.” Petits Propos Culinaires 98 (2013): 71-77.

Tasting Texas.” Southwest Review 97.1 (2012): 54-62.

  • “Notable Essays of 2012” in The Best American Essays 2013, eds. Cheryl Strayed and Robert Atwan. Boston and New York: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2013.

Flash & Fiction

Line.” Brevity Magazine 16 (May 2021). (Flash nonfiction)

Shift.” The Enneadecameron. 1 June 2020. (Story)


The rest of the iceberg: Three guides to writing personal narrative.Times Literary Supplement, May 20, 2022.

Scratch the surface: What psoriasis tells us about social outcasts.Times Literary Supplement, March 25, 2022.

Bad Company: A New Novel Strips Away the Veneer of Progressive Rhetoric.The Walrus, March/April 2022.

Different words for blue.Times Literary Supplement, January 7, 2022.

A Family Shatters Along With Yugoslavia.New York Times, January 2, 2022.

Industrious Habits.” New York Review of Books, December 16, 2021.

Smell the burn: What is the point of physical exercise?” Times Literary Supplement, September 17, 2021.

The Beauty of Imperfection.” Los Angeles Review of Books, August 26, 2021.

A Heroine’s Journey: On Lana Bastašić’s “Catch the Rabbit”.” Los Angeles Review of Books, August 18, 2021.

Don’t Get Too Comfortable.” New York Review of Books, May 27, 2021.

When You Roast Your Friends in a Book, and One’s Your Landlord.” The New York Times, May 3, 2021.

The Flower and the Bee.” London Review of Books, April 22, 2021.

Let us now tell sad stories.” Times Literary Supplement, March 12, 2021.

Dudes Without Heirs.” New York Review of Books, December 3, 2020.

Time travelling in comfort.” Times Literary Supplement, November 27, 2020.

How to Read Aloud.” London Review of Books, September 10, 2020.

  • Audio version by Audm

In Praise of Solitude.” Los Angeles Review of Books, June 28, 2020.

Making My Moan.” London Review of Books, May 7, 2020. 

Quiet magic: The best ways to cultivate good writing.” The Times Literary Supplement (lead cover story), March 6, 2020. 

Theater of War.” The New York Times, February 12, 2020.

Cooking as a profound art.” The Times Literary Supplement, December 20 and 27, 2019.

Heel turns.” The Times Literary Supplement (lead cover story), September 20, 2019.

“Door Open for Beauty: On Deborah Tobola’s “Hummingbird in Underworld: Teaching in a Men’s Prison, a Memoir.” Los Angeles Review of Books, August 2, 2019. 

Renaissance Man.” The New York Times, June 2, 2019.

Physical, cultural, personal: The demands of dance.” The Times Literary Supplement (lead cover story), February 1, 2019.

Hunger Games: Three Memoirs Where Food Takes Center Stage.” The New York Times, January 6, 2019.

Literature as Lifeline: The Exile in “Call Me Zebra”.” Los Angeles Review of Books, March 18, 2018.

Brief reviews

Out of the bag: Understanding the strange power that animals exercise over people.” (In Brief review of On Animals, by Susan Orlean). Times Literary Supplement, April 22, 2022.

Look backwards, fly forwards.” (In Brief review of Sankofa, by Chibundu Onuzo.) Times Literary Supplement, December 3, 2021.

Speaking in Tongues.” (In Brief review of Between Tongues, by Paul McQuade.) Times Literary Supplement, October 29, 2021.

Somewhat cheery.” (In Brief review of A Cheerful Soul and other stories, by Hersh Dovid Nomberg.) The Times Literary Supplement, May 21, 2021.

Rings of Sarajevo.” (In Brief review of My Heart, by Semezdin Mehmedinović.) The Times Literary Supplement, March 26, 2021.

Stifled by cookie-cutters.” (In Brief review of So You Want to Publish a Book?, by Anne Trubek). Times Literary Supplement, February 5, 2021.

Old love, new tricks.” (In Brief review of Tristan & Isolde, newly translated by William Whobrey). Times Literary Supplement, December 4, 2020.

Homely ceremonies.” (In Brief review of How to Cook a Wolf, by MFK Fisher). Times Literary Supplement, October 30, 2020.

Dance Macabre.” (In Brief review of What You Become In Flight, by Ellen O’Connell Whittet) The Times Literary Supplement, May 1, 2020.

Dance.” (In Brief review of Isadora, by Julie Birmant and Clément Oubrerie) The Times Literary Supplement, April 17, 2020.

Electric conversations: Twenty-five writers reflect on the magazines and journals they have enjoyed over the years.” Times Literary Supplement, October 25, 2019. 

Old English” (In Brief review of Undoing Babel: The Tower of Babel in Anglo-Saxon Literature, by Tristan Major). The Times Literary Supplement, January 11, 2019. 

Zócalo’s Summer Book List


The art of improv: Wobbling through life.” Afterthoughts column, Times Literary Supplement, May 6, 2022.

Plain speaking: How to write well.” Afterthoughts column, Times Literary Supplement, April 8, 2022.

Burnout culture: A disconnect between expectation and reality.” Afterthoughts column, Times Literary Supplement, March 11, 2022.

The Frenzied Folly of Professorial Groupthink.The Chronicle of Higher Education Review, February 16, 2022.

Beyond the girlboss: On the representation of women.” Afterthoughts column, Times Literary Supplement, February 11, 2022.

Our debt to pleasure.” Afterthoughts column, Times Literary Supplement, January 14, 2022.

Addressing toxic behaviour is in universities’ interest.Times Higher Education, November 11, 2021.

Rereading the Revolt.” Public Books, November 5, 2021.

Queen Kris.” Avidly, October 13, 2021.

Are you a toxic enabler?” Times Higher Education, September 16, 2021.

How to Cope With a Fear of Public Writing.” The Chronicle of Higher Education, April 19, 2021.

Get medieval on your haters: lessons from Beowulf and Chaucer.” Psyche, November 17, 2020.

Heroism should not be part of the academic job description.” Times Higher Education, October 29, 2020.

We’re all Jessica Rabbit Now. Self-fashioning for the YouTube generation.” Times Literary Supplement, October 21, 2020.

Time to Get Over Your Discomfort With Book Marketing.” The Chronicle of Higher Education, October 16, 2020.

Improv.” Iberian Connections. September 28, 2020.

Struggling to exercise upward toxicity? Try toxic hypocrisy.” Times Higher Education, September 16, 2020.

What Academics Misunderstand About ‘Public Writing’.” The Chronicle of Higher Education, July 2, 2020.

The Demon of Distraction.” With Caleb Smith. In the Moment (Critical Inquiry blog), April 22, 2020. 

Ten rules for succeeding in academia through upward toxicity.” Times Higher Education, November 21, 2019.

“‘Bio-Nazis’ go green in Germany.” Politico Europe, July 12, 2018.

Teachers and Students.” Aeon, February 7, 2018.

Appetite (and iron-clad stomach) for success. The art of stuffing yourself while chancellor.” Politico.eu, June 17, 2017.

The Curious Appeal of ‘Bad’ Food.” The Atlantic, August 5, 2016.

  • Reprinted in Best Food Writing 2017, ed. Holly Hughes. New York: Da Capo Press, 2017. 7-12.

‘Frivolous’ Humanities Helped Prisoners Survive in Communist Romania.” Zócalo Public Square, May 25, 2016.

War and the Food of Dreams: An Interview with Cara De Silva.” Rumba Under Fire: The Arts of Survival from West Point to Delhi, ed. Irina Dumitrescu. Brooklyn: Punctum Books, 2016. 53-77.

Terpsichore.” Rumba Under Fire: The Arts of Survival from West Point to Delhi, ed. Irina Dumitrescu. Brooklyn: Punctum Books, 2016. 197-199.

Why ‘that’ photo mattered this time: Our children could be on that beach, too.” On Parenting for the Washington Post. September 8, 2015.

On the Future of Old English.” Guest post at In the Middle, January 2014.

The School’s Embrace.” This Book is a Class Room, eds. Lucie Kolb and Romy Rüegger. Berlin: Passenger Books and HIT, 2012. 43-44.

Hidden Treasures at the Met Museum.” Guest post at In the Middle, July 2009.

Short pieces

My worst teaching moment – and what it taught me.” Times Higher Education, March 3, 2022.

Are you ready for the return to in-person teaching?” Times Higher Education, September 16, 2021.

Moving mountains: the reforms that would push academia to new heights.” Times Higher Education, February 18, 2021.

Life in the Zoomiverse: What we miss about the physical campus.” Times Higher Education, April 30, 2020.

Should you be working 100 hours a week?” Times Higher Education, February 20, 2020.

Longreads Best of 2018: Food Writing.

Longreads Best of 2017: Food Writing.

About the Cover.” postmedieval 8.3 (2017): 267–269.

(With Berit Andersson) “Research Fellowships in Germany for Scholars in the Humanities.” Guest post at In the Middle, November 8, 2016.

A Place of Absence, Loss, and Transcendence.” Part of a Zócalo Public Square conversation on “Why Libraries’ Survival Matters.” September 29, 2016.

Dancing for Humanity.” fuse. A Tribal & Fusion Belly Dance Magazine 15 (2015): 11-12.