Named “one of the nation’s most influential and imaginative college professors” by Playboy, Johnson is an associate professor of English with an emphasis in creative writing. He is also a Whiting Writers’ Award recipient. His fiction has appeared in publications including Harper’s, The Paris Review and “Best American Short Stories” and Random House published his most recent novel, “The Orphan Master’s Son,” in January of this year.
Johnson was born in South Dakota and raised in Arizona. From an early age, he cultivated a probing sensibility to understanding the world around him. In his early childhood, Johnson’s favorite place was the Phoenix Zoo. His father, a zoo night watchman, would take his son out on evening excursions to see the animals. It was from these excursions that Johnson developed a growing awareness of the depth and multi-layered nature of stories.