Ginger Strand

Ginger Strand is an American essayist, novelist, environmental writer, and historian. Her 2005 debut novel Flight was adapted from several of her short stories.[1] Her published books of non-fiction include, Inventing Niagara: Beauty, Power, and Lies in May 2008, and Killer on the Road: Violence and the American Interstate in 2012.[2]




Ginger Strand grew up mostly on a farm in Michigan. Her family moved often while her father served in the Air National Guard. Throughout her childhood, she lived in Texas, Missouri, Illinois, Wisconsin, and Michigan.[3] Her father later worked as a commercial airline pilot for TWA for 35 years.[4] Strand is a 1992 graduate from Princeton University.[4] She has a daughter and lives in New York City.[5] She teaches environmental criticism at Fordham University, and teaches writing at the 92nd Street Y.[6]

Her fiction and essays have appeared in The Believer, Harper's, The Iowa Review, The Gettysburg Review, and The Carolina Quarterly.[7] Strand has received residency grants from the MacDowell Colony, Yaddo, the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, and the American Antiquarian Society, as well as a Tennessee Williams scholarship in fiction from the Sewanee Writers' Conference.[8] She is a contributing editor at Orion. Strand is also a former fellow in the Behrman Center for the Humanities at Princeton University.[9]

Strand is also an environmental writer. She has been critical of Google’s environmental policies.[10] In a November 2006 New York Times story, she talks about her personal difficulty in being eco-conscious.[5]

She lists her obsessions as water, ancient Rome, infrastructure, SuperFund, airplanes, silent film, panopticons, P. T. Barnum, photography, lies, the 1930s, Niagara Falls, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Edward Wormley, consumerism and rhinoceroses, especially one named Clara who lived in the 18th century.[11]


Strand's debut novel, Flight, was published by Simon & Schuster in May 2005.[12] Strand considered herself a short story writer.[4] Her agent Nat Sobel convinced her in April 2003 that a manuscript of short stories could become a novel. Strand responded, "I shuddered. I was no novelist. I was a minimalist, a votress of the goddess of gesture, a worshipper at the altar of the succinct. I was a short story writer."[1] Four months later, she completed Flight.[4]

Strand describes Flight as “the echoes and overlaps of four voices.”[13] The Gruens are a Midwestern family in the midst of private dramas. The story takes places in the days leading up to a wedding in rural Michigan. Father Will, an aging airline pilot, is reluctant to retire and troubled by memories of Vietnam. Mother Carol, long-sufferer of Will’s whims, is intent on opening her very own “country-themed” bed-and-breakfast despite her disdain for things rustic. Elder daughter Margaret, a history professor, is entangled in an “open marriage.” And younger daughter Leanne, bride-to-be and owner of a “high-end craft store,” is a recovering alcoholic.

Her second book was nonfiction, Inventing Niagara: Beauty, Power, Lies, and published by Simon & Schuster in early 2008. The book takes a cultural history of natural wonder at Niagara Falls.[7] Strand writes about how Niagara Falls has influenced America's history and environment.

In researching her second book, Strand used handbills, guidebooks, travelogues, treaties, and images in the society's collections.[14] The book chronicles Strands' fascination with infrastructure, which she calls "a culture’s dream made visible.”[15]

Inventing Niagara received positive reviews in the New York Times Book Review,[2]Newsweek,[16] the Washington Post,[17] and the Wall Street Journal.[18] The LA Times criticized it as overwrought with irrelevant details.[19] The book was a finalist for the 2008 Orion Magazine Book Award and was picked as one of summer 2008's best non-fiction books by Fresh Air on NPR.[20]


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