Stuever, Hank 1969(?)-
STUEVER, Hank 1969(?)-
PERSONAL: Born c. 1969, in Oklahoma City, OK. Education: Loyola University, B.A. Hobbies and other interests: "Indie rock, strange comic books, naps, Polaroids, booze, county fairs, walking, swimming, culture—highbrow, lowbrow and nobrow, instructional clip-art from the 1960s, rubber stamps, decent movies, driving around, working out, [and] sitting still."
ADDRESSES: Home—Washington, DC.
CAREER: Albuquerque Tribune, Albuquerque, NM, reporter; Austin American-Statesman, Austin, TX, reporter; Washington Post, Washington, DC, currently staff writer. Has appeared on Today, MSNBC, The View, and National Public Radio's Day to Day.
AWARDS, HONORS: Pulitzer Prize nominations, 1993 and 1996, both for feature writing.
Off Ramp: Adventures and Heartache in the American Elsewhere (essays and articles), Holt (New York, NY), 2004.
Also contributor to anthologies, including Best Newspaper Writing, 1994, Modern Media Institute (St. Petersburg, FL), 1994; Telling Stories, Taking Risks: Journalism Writing at the Century's Edge, compiled by Alice M. Klement and Carolyn B. Matalene, Wadsworth Publishing (Belmont, CA), 1998; The Best American Travel Writing 2003, Houghton Mifflin (Boston, MA), 2003; and White Noise: The Eminem Collection, edited by Hilton Als and Darryl A. Turner, Thunder's Mouth Press (New York, NY), 2003.
SIDELIGHTS: Writer and reporter Hank Stuever has earned a reputation as both a fine reporter and a chronicler of the more bizarre aspects of modern American life. He seeks his inspiration in small stories that otherwise might fall through the cracks of news reporting, creating tales about ordinary Americans accomplishing everyday (but extraordinary) things. The quality of his writing has been recognized by the Pulitzer Prize committee, which twice in the 1990s nominated the author for the prestigious feature-writing award. "With an incredible eye for detail," declared Booklist contributor Vanessa Bush, "Stuever offers observations of the minutiae and underlying passions of American life."
Off Ramp: Adventures and Heartache in the American Elsewhere is the first collection of Stuever's newspaper writings. "Like Truman Capote, whose In Cold Blood showed that the factual reporting of a murder and its aftermath could, in the right hands, become something much more expansive," declared Eli Sanders in a review of Off Ramp for The Stranger.com, adding: "Stuever's writing elevates (and reinvigorates) the journalistic form." "But unlike Capote," Sanders continued, "Stuever decided long ago to take as his subjects not the typical newspaper fodder, such as a murder and its aftermath," but the curiosities and peculiarities that color everyday existence. "This tender, funny, compelling collection," stated a Publishers Weekly contributor, "is an homage to the rhythms and cadences of modern life."
"He is determinedly idiosyncratic in his choice of subjects," Steve Weinberg stated in his Denver Post review of Stuever's collection. "The title of the book, Off Ramp, suggests leaving the interstate highway of life to explore little-known byways. The subtitle, referring to the 'American Elsewhere,' suggests that mainstream celebrity culture, so fascinating to so many journalists (and, apparently, readers), holds little attraction for Stuever." "The best essays—a piece on storage-unit culture and a haunting personalization of the Oklahoma City bombing—dig deeper into our domestic isolation and wanderlust," wrote a Kirkus Reviews contributor. "Stuever's work recalls that of David Sedaris or Augusten Burroughs (who provides a blurb), but it's generally sweeter and less biting."
Much of Stuever's work over the past several years has appeared in the Washington Post's Style section, which serves as a forum for quirky commentary about modern life. "Style has been called the Post's sand-box," wrote Harry Jaffe in his "Post Watch" column reprinted on Stuever's Web site, "filled with petulant writers who play at the game of journalism." "The Post has installed Stuever, a tall, angular type, as the journalist who explains our world to us….,"Jaffe concluded. "Stuever is testing the sandbox's limits."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, July, 2004, Vanessa Bush, review of Off Ramp: Adventures and Heartache in the American Elsewhere, p. 1814.
Denver Post, July 18, 2004, Steve Weinberg, "Main Street Stories off the Beaten Path," p. F11.
Kirkus Reviews, May 1, 2004, review of Off Ramp, p. 434.
Publishers Weekly, May 17, 2004, review of Off Ramp, p. 42.
Texas Monthly, July, 2004, Mike Shea, review of Off Ramp, p. 46.
Hank Stuever's Home Page, http://www.hankstuever.com (December 6, 2004).
The Stranger.com, http://www.thestranger.com/ (July 29, 2004), Eli Sanders, review of Off Ramp.*