David Henry Sterry is an author, a performer, muckraker, educator, activist, and book doctor. His first book, Chicken: Self-Portrait of a Young Man for Rent, was published in 2001. Prior to becoming an author, Sterry was a professional actor and screenwriter.
David is unique as an author in that he brings together his love for the written word with his love for performance. As an actor, he performed with everyone from Milton Berle to Will Smith to Michael Caine to Zippy the Chimp. He performed in over 750 commercials, starred in HBO's Emmy Award-winning Encyclopedia, and emceed at Chippendale's in New York City. As a screenwriter, he wrote for Disney, Fox and Nickelodeon. After his memoir, Chicken, was published, David put his performance and playwriting skills to work and wrote and performed a one-man show based on the book. After a highly praised debut in San Francisco, David took his one-man show to Edinburgh's Fringe Festival where it was named the #1 play in the UK by The Independent week after week. For each and every book David publishes, he puts together a unique and robust publicity and marketing plan which utilizes his performance skills. Examples include: a 6-hour workshop on how to get published at Stanford University, a high concept event like "The Art of the Memoir" which he's done everywhere from City Lights to the Strand to the 92nd St Y, a cutting-edge reading series like "Sex Worker Literati", which has become a sold-out monthly event at Bowery Poetry Club in NYC.
David also makes sure to stay in the public eye between book publications through blogging for the Huffington Post, writing about everything from politics, to same-sex marriage, to college football corruption, to the newest innovations in publishing, to the NFL cracking down on snow angels. He has also appeared in many anthologies (his story in San Francisco Noir was a finalist for the Henry Miller Award), and writing for publications such as The London Times, The San Francisco Chronicle and Penthouse.
David has taught at Stanford University, University of New Orleans, Reed College, UCLA, SF State, and the US Department of Justice. He's assisted lawyers, models, architects, and writers to present themselves and their ideas with clarity and passion. He's also helped many amateur writers become professional authors.
This biography was last updated on 10/17/2015.
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An Interview with David Henry Sterry
Why did you write this book?
Ever since I was 17, I had a black cloud hanging over my life. I lost my house, lost my wife, I was miserable, no matter how much success I had, and I was mean to anyone who got close to me. Keeping this misery inside was killing me. So I wrote my story, always trying to answer the question: How did a nice boy like me, from a nice family, with a good education, end up in this strange, savage, and abusive world, as a young man for rent?
Did you come from a bad neighborhood, or an abusive family?
Not at all. I grew up in nice neighborhoods where kids played ball in front yards, the Tooth Fairy left a quarter under your pillow, we had corn on the cob and merry-go-rounds, and PTA meetings. My parents are from England, they came America with very little, and after years of working their butts off, they were divorced, on the verge of going bankrupt, and both in therapy. Kind of the new American Dream.
Did writing this book change your life?
It was very difficult to write this book. There were times when I would get ripping headaches, like my head was in a vice being tightened by a speed freak. And I would put on movies while I wrote, like Gone ...
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