Crescent Dragonwagon, called by the Chicago Tribune “…one of America’s most prolific and versatile writers… an earthy, red-headed yarn-spinning woman,” is the author of 50 published books in multiple genres — novels, cookbook-memoirs, poetry, children’s books.
Many of her books have won awards; among them, HALF A MOON AND ONE WHOLE STAR (Coretta Scott King Award) , THE YEAR IT RAINED (New York Times Notable), and PASSIONATE VEGETARIAN (James Beard Award). In addition, she’s written for publications ranging from the New York Times Book Review to Cosmopolitan, MS, and the North American Review. She blogs at Nothing is Wasted on the Writer and Deep Feast, and is the creator of “Until Just Moistened: A One-Woman Show, with Crumbs.”
In addition to writing, she is the developer of Fearless Writing, the crown jewel of several writing workshops she has taught all over the world, and whose graduates include the late Julia Child. She has given talks, some of them keynotes, at conferences and conventions including the American Library Association, the National Council of Teachers of English, the International Reading Association, the International Associations of Culinary Professionals, Professional Association of Innkeepers International, and the Young Presidents Association.
Dragonwagon is a Southern Yankee. She was born in New York City (to two writers) , but at 18, moved to the Ozark Mountain community of Eureka Springs, Arkansas, where she resided for 36 years. For 18 of those years she was innkeeper/chef/co-owner of Dairy Hollow House, an acclaimed country inn After she and her late husband, Ned Shank, closed the inn, they co-founded the Writers’ Colony at Dairy Hollow, a non-profit, 501 (c) 3 organization. It continues to thrive, having served more than 800 writers from over 33 countries since its inception.
Since 2002, Dragonwagon has lived in Westminster West, Vermont. But she is currently tri-residential: she spends one week each month in Hastings-on-Hudson, New York, with her 97-year-old mother, the writer-editor Charlotte Zolotow, and about one month each year back in Eureka Springs.
Dragonwagon has the distinction of having prepared beans and cornbread for a president (Bill Clinton), titled royalty (Princess Elizabeth of Yugoslavia), a world-renowned feminist (Betty Friedan) and Marilyn Monroe’s first biographer (Maurice Zolotow… her late father). She has appeared on Good Morning America, Today, TVFN, & CNN. NPR listeners know her from Tom Ashbrook’s On Point, Lynne Rosetto Kasper’s The Splendid Table, and Micheal Feldman’s Whaddya Know.
In Vermont, she lives, writes, and cooks in a 1795 farmhouse which once belonged to her aunt, at which she spent summers when a child. She shares the place with her partner, filmmaker David Koff, and, often, numerous well-fed friends. Her nearest neighbor is a maple-sugarer, an occasionally-seen moose, and many, many wild turkeys. An ardent gardener, the most recent summer found her growing 9 different varieties of beans ( 4 bush, 5 pole … including a type named ‘Dragon’s Tongue’). She prefers to work under the supervision of her large and amiable tabby cat, Cattywhompus (who can often be found rolling in the catmint).
And yes, it’s her real name.
WHAT ACTUALLY HAPPENED
Safety went to work in the World Trade Towers one morning.
Trust believed her husband when he said, ‘It was only one kiss.’
Faith, with her tiny silver cross, star of David, om sign, served the victims
of the plague. ‘How’ she asked God, ‘Could you let this happen?‘
If God replied, He did so inaudibly.
Belief clapped hands for Tinkerbelle, who did not arrive.
Certainty, the bough on which the cradle rocked, broke.
The baby fell down, down, down into limitless dark star-free space.
The baby falls still. The baby will fall forever.
I am big enough to hold you all.
Are you big enough, small human, to hold me?
c Crescent Dragonwagon, 2009