Lacy M. Johnson

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Lacy M. Johnson
Lacy M Johnson 2018.jpg
Johnson at the 2018 Texas Book Festival
Born1978 (age 43–44)
EducationUniversity of Missouri
University of Kansas
University of Houston
Years active2004-present

Lacy M. Johnson (born in 1978)[1] is an American writer, professor and activist.[2][3] She is the author of Trespasses: A Memoir (University of Iowa Press, 2012), The Other Side: A Memoir (Tin House, 2014)[4] and The Reckonings: Essays (Scribner, 2018).[5]

Early life and education[edit]

Johnson was born in Iowa.[6] She grew up in rural Missouri, in a town called Macon, Missouri, which was featured in her 2012 book, Trespasses: A Memoir.[7]

In 2002, Johnson received a B.A. from the University of Missouri. In 2004, she received an M.A. from the University of Kansas. In 2008, Johnson earned a Ph.D. from University of Houston’s Creative Writing Program. Her thesis was called I, Mongrel.[8]


Johnson has written two memoirs, 2012's Trespasses: A Memoir and 2014's The Other Side: A Memoir. In both memoirs, Johnson tells readers about when her ex-boyfriend kidnapped, raped, and held her hostage in 2000. The books do not focus on the violence, but rather on how Johnson is reclaiming her story and learning how to cope with her trauma.[9] After her second book, The Other Side was published, Johnson was repeatedly asked the question, "What would she like to see happen to her rapist."[10]

This question began Johnson's investigation into the concepts of forgiveness and mercy in her 2018 book, The Reckonings: Essays, where to many audience members' surprise, Johnson does not want vengeance, and frequently says that her idea of justice is to have her rapist be held accountable and for her to heal. Johnson's rapist was never brought to trial after he fled arrest and now lives in Venezuela.[11][12]

The Other Side: A Memoir was named One of The Best Books of 2014 by Kirkus Reviews[13] and was a finalist for the Council of Literary Magazines and Presses Firecracker Award in Nonfiction,[14] the Dayton Literary Peace Prize[15] the National Book Critics Circle Award[16] and the Edgar Award in Best Fact Crime.[17]

The Reckonings: Essays, was a finalist in the Criticism category of the National Book Critics Circle Award.[18]

Johnson has said that her formal training was in poetry, which was one of the structures she used in the often short pieces in her first book, Trespasses: A Memoir.[19]

Johnson teaches at Rice University in creative nonfiction.[20]

Johnson is the founding director of the Houston Flood Museum.[21]

Personal life[edit]

Johnson is married and has children. She lives in Houston.[10]

Selected honors[edit]

Selected works and publications[edit]

Selected works[edit]

  • Johnson, Lacy M. (2012). Trespasses: A Memoir. Iowa City, Iowa: University of Iowa Press. ISBN 978-1-609-38078-6. OCLC 755004214.
  • Johnson, Lacy M. (2014). The Other Side: A Memoir. Portland, Oregon: Tin House Books. ISBN 978-1-935-63983-1. OCLC 1090916550.
  • Johnson, Lacy M. (2018). The Reckonings: Essays. New York: Scribner. ISBN 978-1-501-15902-2. OCLC 1056625542.

Selected publications[edit]


  1. ^ "Johnson, Lacy M., 1978-". VIAF (Virtual International Authority File). Retrieved 6 May 2021.
  2. ^ Chadburn, Melissa (22 July 2014). "The Rumpus Interview with Lacy M. Johnson". The Rumpus.
  3. ^ Dansby, Andrew (21 August 2018). "Jaipur Festival, the "greatest literary show on Earth," coming to Houston". Houston Chronicle.
  4. ^ Rommelmann, Nancy (4 August 2014). "Book Review: 'The Other Side' by Lacy M. Johnson". Wall Street Journal.
  5. ^ Hagerty, Michael (9 October 2018). "A Rape Survivor's Unusual Definition of Justice". Houston Public Media.
  6. ^ a b "Lacy M. Johnson". John Simon Guggenheim Foundation. 2020.
  7. ^ Sellnow, Caitlin (26 July 2012). "Trespasses by Lacy M. Johnson". TriQuarterly.
  8. ^ Johnson, Lacy M. (2008). I, Mongrel (Ph.D.). University of Houston. OCLC 259810091.
  9. ^ Goldman, Nathan (8 October 2014). "Claiming My Body, Claiming My Voice: An Interview with Lacy M. Johnson". Los Angeles Review of Books.
  10. ^ a b The Open Bar (11 August 2014). "An Interview with Lacy M. Johnson, author of The Other Side". Tin House.
  11. ^ Rybeck, Benjamin (22 July 2014). "Review: Houston Memoirist Lacy M. Johnson's The Other Side Finds Redemption in the Dark". The Texas Observer.
  12. ^ "The Other Side: A Memoir". Kirkus Reviews. 1 June 2014.
  13. ^ Layman, Alex (8 December 2014). "Best Books of 2014: Lacy M. Johnson". Kirkus Reviews.
  14. ^ "2015 Firecracker Award finalists". Community of Literary Magazines and Presses. 1 April 2015.
  15. ^ "2015 – Dayton Literary Peace Prize". Dayton Literary Peace Prize. 2015.
  16. ^ Gray, Lisa (23 January 2015). "Houston writer Lacy Johnson is a finalist for two national awards". Houston Chronicle.
  17. ^ "Category List – Best Fact Crime". The Edgars.
  18. ^ "2018: The National Book Critics Circle Award - Criticism". National Book Critics Circle. 2018.
  19. ^ Scott, Amanda (Spring 2015). "Inherited Vocabulary: An Interview with Lacy Johnson". Story Houston. 7.
  20. ^ "Lacy M. Johnson, Assistant Professor of Creative Writing". Rice University Department of English. Retrieved 6 May 2021.
  21. ^ "About Us: Advisory Board - Dr. Lacy M. Johnson". Houston Flood Museum. Retrieved 6 May 2021.

External links[edit]