Joseph Monninger, writer, Warren, NH
In Joseph Monninger’s school days, the Westfield, NJ native seemed headed for a career in professional sports. He had been a talented athlete and entered Temple University on a football scholarship. An injury, however, forced him to put that dream aside and focus on academics. After earning his BA in English, he joined the Peace Corps and spent three years in Africa expecting to have the opportunity to travel, help others, and have adventures. His most pivotal experience, however, was what he calls a “moment of isolation” which, in retrospect, he feels is necessary for writers. He began writing letters home and short stories about his experiences with the local villagers and his encounters with African magic and superstition.
Upon returning to the US he began the life of a freelance writer, selling his stories and non-fiction pieces to major magazines such as, Sports Illustrated, Glamour, Readers Digest, American Heritage, McCalls, RedBook, Ellery Queen and the Boston Globe. He also wrote nine novels that were published by Athenaeum, Scribner’s, Simon and Schuster, Thorndike Press, Steerforth, D.I. Fine, and Random House. Throughout the 80s he lived in Portsmouth, Providence, Vienna, New York City and in Concord. During that time he also enrolled in the University of NH where he received an MA in English Writing. Since 1990, he has been Associate Professor at Plymouth State University (PSU) where he teaches fiction, journalism, composition and introduction to literature.
Monninger is the author of nine works of fiction but, most recently, has turned toward writing creative nonfiction. Two of these are memoirs that have been widely praised by reviewers: Home Waters: Fishing with an Old Friend (Broadway Books, 1999) and Barn in New England: Making a Home on Three Acres (Chronicle Books, 2001) His forthcoming book is entitled Two Ton: One Night, One Fight -- T ony Galento v. Joe Louis (Steerforth Press, 2006) for which he says he has been “steeped in 1930s boxing” for three years. Locally, he is also a columnist for the Valley News and Laconia Citizen.
Monninger’s awards include two National Endowment for the Arts Fellowships, a Booksense Award for Home Waters, and selection as an alternate for a Fulbright scholarship to West Africa. He has worked for many years with the NH Writers Project and the NH Humanities Council. He has lectured at Dartmouth College, Keene State College and Harvard University.
Monninger lives in Warren in a mid-19 th century Dutch barn (whose renovation was the subject of his book Barn in New England) with his wife Wendy, their 16-year old son Justin, a cat, turkeys, an old black lab named D-Dog, and four Alaskan sled dogs who are employed in the family’s dog sledding business called Country Dogs. This is Joseph Monninger’s first State Arts Council Fellowship.
to 2007 Fellows page
September 13, 2006