J. Ryan Stradal lives and works in Los Angeles County, California.
He grew up in the Midwest, in the southern Minnesota town of Hastings, where he often failed his driver's license exams, and graduated from Northwestern University, where he often slipped on the ice. He does not own a gun and a motorcycle, which makes him unique among the men in his extended family.
His first novel, Kitchens of the Great Midwest, was published by Viking / Pamela Dorman Books on July 28th, 2015, and reached the New York Times Hardcover Best Seller list at #19 on its third week of release. In April 2016, the American Booksellers Association voted Kitchens the Indies Choice Book of the Year Award – Adult Debut Winner. In July 2016, the Midwest Independent Booksellers Association awarded it the 2016 Midwest Booksellers Choice Award for the year's top fiction book, and in October 2016, the Southern California Independent Booksellers Association also named Kitchens the year's top novel.
So far, Kitchens has been acquired for publication overseas in twelve countries (Brazil, Finland, France, Germany, Holland, Israel, Italy, Korea, Poland, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom). Back in November 2014, before it was published, the Pirate's Alley Faulkner Society awarded Kitchens of the Great Midwest first prize in their annual novel competition. He's extremely grateful for the places that put it on their 2015 best-of lists.
His shorter writing has appeared in Hobart, The Rumpus, The Wall Street Journal, Granta, The Guardian, The Los Angeles Review of Books, BuzzFeed, CNET, Midnight Breakfast, Los Angeles Magazine, Joyland, The Towner, McSweeney's Internet Tendency, The Rattling Wall, The Nervous Breakdown, Bright Wall / Dark Room, Goodreads, Midwestern Gothic, Monkeybicycle, The California Prose Directory (2013), American Short Fiction (online), Knee-Jerk Magazine, Insomniac, Longitude, Trop, Cedars, Facsimile, Marguerite Avenue, This Recording, NFL.com, and in McSweeney's “The Goods”. He also contributed field reports for the serialized iPad/iPod novel “The Silent History."
A selection of his short stories, compiled under the title "Nerd & Whore are Friends," was a 2013 finalist in the Dzanc Books Short Story Collection Competition. His short fiction has also been anthologized, nominated for a Pushcart Prize, and named a finalist for the James Kirkwood Literary Prize.
Since January 2017, he is a contributing editor at TASTE. Previously, he was the fiction editor at The Nervous Breakdown from 2013 to 2016, and an editor-at-large at Unnamed Press in Los Angeles from 2015 to 2017. He was also co-editor, with Adam Cushman, of Critically Acclaimed, a compendium of "real reviews of fake movies," published by Rare Bird in January 2018, and editor of the 2014 California Prose Directory, an anthology of writing about California by California writers, published by Outpost19.
He co-produces, with Summer Block, the literary/culinary series “HOT DISH," which has featured Sara Benincasa, Xochitl-Julisa Bermejo, Cecil Castellucci, Steph Cha, Jade Chang, Carina Chocano, Zinzi Clemmons, George Ducker, Lauren Eggert-Crowe, Ann Friedman, Rico Gagliano, Jim Gavin, Amelia Gray, James Hannaham, Heather Havrilesky, Meg Howrey, Kima Jones, Brad Listi, Ben Loory, Lou Mathews, Tracy McMillan, Mary Otis, Lilliam Rivera, Davy Rothbart, Jen Sincero, Stacey Vanek Smith, Ramesh Srinivasan, Chris Terry, and Diana Wagman, among many others.
He has often worked in television, story editing or producing shows for VH-1, MTV, ABC, FOX, TLC, A&E, Discovery, and History. Working primarily for Original Productions from 2008 to 2014, he was the senior story producer on “Deadliest Catch” and “Ice Road Truckers” and a supervising producer on “IRT: Deadliest Roads,” "Storage Wars," and “Storage Wars: Texas.”
He was also associate producer on Chad Hartigan's film “This Is Martin Bonner,” which won the Audience Award for Best Of NEXT at the Sundance Film Festival in 2013.
He likes books, wine, sports, root beer, and peas.
Worries? Complaints? Free food? Contact J. Ryan at email@example.com