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Jeffrey N. Johnson

Novelist, Poet


Jeffrey N. Johnson's debut novel, The Hunger Artist, was a finalist for the Library of Virginia's People's Choice Award in Fiction in 2015. He's published short stories and poems in over two dozen literary journals, including The Sewanee Review, where he won the Andrew Lytle Fiction Prize in 2011. He is a fellow of the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts (VCCA), which was funded by a “Creative Fellow” grant from the Mid-Atlantic Arts Foundation. He was raised in Clifton, Virginia and earned a Bachelor of Architecture from Virginia Tech. After practicing architecture for five years, he changed professions and began searching for a new creative outlet. He currently lives in Alexandria, Virginia with his wife and twins, and is working on a second novel.

Fiction (print):

North Atlantic Review - 2017, Number __ - "With These Hands, We Inter" (reprint pending)

Wisconsin Review - Winter 2015, Vol 48.1 - "Tell You of My Dreaming"

REAL: Regarding Arts and Letters - Spr/Sum 2012, Vol 36.1 - "With These Hands We Inter"

Lake Effect - 2012, Vol 16 - "The Transfiguration of Mauricio"

The Sewanee Review - Fall 2011, Vol. CXIX, Number 4 - "Lost Among the Hedgerows" (Andrew Lytle Fiction Prize)

Clackamas Literary Review - 2011, Vol. XV - "The Want of Molly"

North Atlantic Review - 2011, Number 22 - "Legs of the Lame"

The Evansville Review - 2007, Vol. XVII - "Other Fine Gifts"

The Summerset Review - 2007, Vol. 1 - "Raw Toscana"

The Distillery - 2007, Vol XIV - Modern Predators"

The Connecticut Review - Fall 2006, Vol. XXVIII, Number 2 - "The Waters of Casablanca"

Licking River Review - 2005-2006, Vol. 36 - "Extra-Perceptuals"

The Story Garden - Oct. 2005, Vol 6 -  "Cambodia Rising"

South Dakota Review - Fall 2003, Vol 41, Number 3 - "Reappraising Jason"

Aethlon, The Journal of Sport Literature - Spring 2003, Vol. XX:2 - Skating the Blumlisalp."

Potomac Review - Fall 2002/Winter 2003, Issue 34 - "Filling a Hole"


Fiction (on-line):

Redux - #20, February 2012 - "Other Fine Gifts

Night Train Magazine - 2010 - "Fresh Eggs"

The Summerset Review - Summer 2006 - "Raw Toscana"

Small Spiral Notebook - Spring 2003 - "A Cool Place with a Breeze"

Dead Mule - January 2002 - "Plowman's Burden"

The Story Garden - Fall 2000, Issue 1 - "A War Story"



Plainsongs - Winter 2017, Vol. XXXII.2 - "Plow in the Pokeweed"

Gargoyle Magazine - 2017, Vol. 67 - "The Immigrant" (pending)

Oxford Magazine - Spring 2016, Issue 37 - "Things Boys Bury"

Birmingham Poetry Review - Spring 2017, Issue 44 - "Particle Search in D minor"

Dos Passos Review - June 2014 - Waiting in the Lab"

Dos Passos Review - June 2014 - "Gods of Fertility"

Red Rock Review - Fall 2013, Issue 32 - "A Waning Proposal"

Roanoke Review - Spring 2013, Vol. XXXVIII - "Body Litter"

Coe Review - Fall 2012, Vol 43, Issue 1 - "Things We Have Seen Before"

Gargoyle Magazine - 2010, Vol. 56 - "Nine Month Lease"

South Carolina Review - Spring 2009, Vol. 41, Number 2 - "Toddler Angst"

ABOUT  "the hunger artist"

High school art teacher Carl Rittenhaur is in line to inherit the family farm, but his guilt over the deaths of his parents burdens him from claiming his legacy. His life gets a jolt when his ex-fiancé, who had once pulled him from depression and later abandoned him at the altar, returns to town with her two-year-old daughter in tow. She is in the last throes of a custody battle with the girl’s father, and Carl has been mysteriously named in the hearings. Tangled in an old romance and a corrupt family court system, Carl must find where his true hunger lies, either for his birthright and all its memories, or for this new family that may be his salvation.

REVIEWS of "the hunger artist"

TEL: 703.298.7670

EMAIL: author (at)



People's Choice Award Finalist - Library of Virginia - The Hunger Artist, a novel - 2015

Andrew Lytle Fiction Prize - The Sewanee Review - "Lost Among the Hedgerows" - 2011

St. Lawrence Book Award Semi-Finalist, Home and Abroad - 2008

Virginia Center for the Creative Arts (VCCA) - Fellowship - 2006

Mid-Atlantic Arts Foundation - Creative Fellow Grant - 2006

"Elegantly composed descriptions -- clearly personal, wrought with care and urgency -- of the legacies and landscapes of small-town Virginia, the hot desperations of destitute Florida and, (striking a particular chord with me), a watercolor-ish, resigned end-game through countrysides and coastals near my own stomping grounds, lend Johnson's "The Hunger Artist" an emotionally tactile and deeply authentic stage-set upon which main characters Carl, Miriam, and Annaliese struggle against forces within and without in alternate pursuit of the past, the future, and pure, torrid escape...for whatever version of freedom awaits on the other side. Deploying tight, organic dialogue, Johnson remains in command of his characters while allowing them space to roam beyond cliche or convenience, which, in concert with his well-drawn senses of space, imbues a sort of realist, cinematic quality that carries the reader down the I-90, head on a swivel, until the very last sad sentence."  - Nick Barnes



"Once I began reading Jeffrey N. Johnson's The Hunger Artist, I had the book in my hand every free moment until I finished it. Yet it is no page turner in the usual sense; it is not a book to be hungrily consumed, discarded and forgotten as soon as it is read. It is a beautifully crafted novel, with the heft and substance of a classic.
    Part of the power of the book lies in Johnson's vividly evoked habitats and landscapes. The outward world of the novel is solid, rendered in rich detail that often shines a light on the inward lives--the sufferings, longings, frailties and obsessions--of the two central characters, Carl and Miriam. It is these sufferings, longings, frailties and obsessions that drive the plot.
    As I approached the end of the novel, I felt that nothing good could happen in the few pages that remained. Yet the author has paved way for some magic--and I stress it is literary magic, not trickery. The novel, for me, had a profoundly satisfying ending. I will not say more"  - Diane Bonds

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