Faculty & Staff

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Lauren Kessler


323 Allen Hall

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Lauren Kessler is the award-winning author of 15 books, including 9 works of narrative nonfiction. She combines lively narrative with deep research to explore everything from world of ballet (Raising the Barre) to the wild, wild west of the anti-aging movement (Counterclockwise), from the stormy seas of the mother-daughter relationship (My Teenage Werewolf) to the hidden world of Alzheimer’s sufferers (Dancing with Rose). Stubborn Twig, was chosen as the book for all Oregon to read in honor of the state’s sesquicentennial. Her books have been Los Angles Times and Washington Post bestsellers, Wall Street Journal and People magazine “best” selections and have been translated into 8 languages. She is the winner of the Pacific Northwest Book Award, the New England Book Show Award and the Oregon Book Award.

Kessler blogs at www.laurenchronicles.com about wellness and living an engaged life. She is an international speaker and workshop leader. For more information, visit her website.


  • PhD, University of Washington,
  • MS, University of Oregon
  • BSJ, Northwestern University

Areas of Expertise

  • Narrative journalism
  • Immersion reporting
  • Book publishing industry
  • Blogging for writers


Kessler has wide-ranging cultural, social, and historical interests. She considers herself part reporter, part cultural anthropologist, and part historian. She is interested in American subcultures and in ill-behaved women who make history. Her deeply reported narrative nonfiction combines the power of fact with the drama of fiction.

Recent Citations, Publications, and Professional Work

Raising the Barre: The Misadventures of a Mid-Life Woman Who Dreamed of Dancing the Nutcracker (Perseus Books, November 2015)

Counterclockwise: My Year of Hypnosis, Hormones, Dark Chocolate and Other Adventures in the World of Anti-Aging (Rodale, 2013) (Rodale paperback, 2014)

Honors and Awards

Hall of Fame honoree, University of Washington School of Communications, 2015

Counterclockwise selected as one of six “Best Books for the Decades Ahead,” by the Wall Street Journal, January 2014.

Top 50 Journalism Professor of 2013 (journalismdegree.org)

Research Innovation and Excellence Award 2010, University of Oregon. 

Stubborn Twig: Three Generations in the Life of a Japanese American Family chosen to be the first “Oregon Reads” selection, the one book for all Oregonians to read in celebration of the state’s 150th birthday.

Excellence in Scholarship and Teaching Award, 2008, University of Oregon.

Winner, Oregon Book Award, 2008 (for Dancing with Rose: Finding Life in the Land of Alzheimer’s).

Winner, Pacific Northwest Book Award, 2007 (for Dancing with Rose: Finding Life in the Land of Alzheimer’s).

Selected Best Books 2007 (Library Journal), Notable Book June 2007 (BookSense) Dancing with Rose

Finalist, Oregon Book Award, 2004 (for Clever Girl: Elizabeth Bentley, the Spy who Ushered in the McCarthy Era)

Finalist, Oregon Book Award, 2001 (for The Happy Bottom Riding Club: The Life and Times of Pancho Barnes.)

Winner, Oregon Book Award for literary nonfiction, 1994 (for Stubborn Twig: Three Generations in the Life of a Japanese American Family).


  • Storytelling and Social Change
  • Thinking Story
  • Story and Commerce
  • Teaching and Professional Life