Nick Reding regularly lectures and speaks about his experiences as a journalist, which have revolved around placing isolated, singular lives into a broader, globalized context. He has much to draw from. ¬†Between 2005 and 2008, Nick, a native Missourian, spent months living in the small town of Oelwein, Iowa, reporting on his best-selling, prize-winning second book, Methland: The Death and Life of an American Small Town. Methland tells Oelwein’s story, from a prosperous railroad and meat-packing hub to a town fighting for its life against a tide of deadly narcotics. Following three years in the life of the town’s mayor, prosecutor, doctor, a meth addict, and a notorious trafficker, Methland is ultimately a tale of both communal and personal regeneration and rebirth against unimaginable odds. Methland was released to wide praise in June 2009, and made the front cover of the New York Times Sunday Book Review in July. After seven hardcover printings, Methland is out in paperback, and has been widely-taught in university schools of journalism, sociology, English, political science, and law. Emory University is currently developing a course based on the book that would be co-taught by six different professors.
During the late-1990s, Nick lived for a year without electricity, running water, or contact with the outside world while following a family of gauchos, or semi-nomadic cowboys, in Chilean Patagonia, one of the remotest regions on earth. An entirely horsebound culture that survive by herding sheep and cattle deep in the Andes, the gauchos taught Nick (who had never been on a horse) everything from how to ride to how to speak Spanish. It was about this gaucho family–and the slow dissolution of their culture at the hands of an ever-more-curious outside world–that he wrote his acclaimed first book, The Last Cowboys at the End of the World: The Story of the Gauchos of Patagonia (Crown, 2001). In 2002, Nick was featured on the cover of Book magazine along with Jonathan Franzen (The Corrections) and Jonathan Safran Foer (Everything is Illuminated) as one of the best new American writers.
Nick has lectured, read, and given speeches at the Chicago Field Museum, the Des Moines Public Library, and many universities. He has appeared on C-Span and NPR’s “All Things Considered” and “On Point”, and has given nearly 100 radio and television interviews throughout the nation. He was recently asked by the Drug Czar of the United States, R. Gil Kerlikowske, to be the keynote speaker about the methamphetamine epidemic to members of the Office of National Drug Control Policy, along with representatives from the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Office of the Vice President. In the coming months, Nick will be speaking at Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism, at Yale University, and at Harvard Medical School. He teaches journalism and creative writing at Washington University in Saint Louis, and is working on his third book, Heartland, a portrait of what the Midwest might look like in forty years.
Google Analytics integration offered by Wordpress Google Analytics Plugin