Announcing our Top 20 Books of 2022

Cheryl Strayed biography

Author Biography  | Interview  | Books by this Author  | Readalikes

Cheryl Strayed
Photo: Joni Kabana

Cheryl Strayed

Cheryl Strayed Biography

Cheryl Strayed's award-winning stories and essays have appeared in more than a dozen magazines, including the New York Times Magazine, Allure, Elle, and Nerve. Widely anthologized, her creative nonfiction has been selected twice for The Best American Essays, and Joyce Carol Oates singled her out for the opening piece in The Best New American Voices 2003. Raised in Minnesota, Strayed has worked as a political organizer for women's advocacy groups and was an outreach worker at a sexual violence center in Minneapolis. She holds an MFA from the Syracuse University Graduate Creative Writing Program. She lives in Portland, Oregon.

Since 2010, Cheryl has also been responsible for The Rumpus (therumpus.net) "Dear Sugar" column.

Cheryl Strayed's website

This bio was last updated on 10/19/2016. In a perfect world, we would like to keep all of BookBrowse's biographies up to date, but with many thousands of lives to keep track of it's simply impossible to do. So, if the date of this bio is not recent, you may wish to do an internet search for a more current source, such as the author's website or social media presence. If you are the author or publisher and would like us to update this biography, send the complete text and we will replace the old with the new.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $45 for 12 months or $15 for 3 months.
  • More about membership!

Interview

Cheryl Strayed, author of Torch, discusses the differences between urban culture and rural culture, which serves as a thematic undercurrent throughout her debut novel.

What can you tell us about the genesis of Torch?

I began to write the novel in its most rudimentary form more than ten years ago, when I was in my early twenties, shortly after my mother died — young and of cancer, like the character of Teresa in the novel. My mother's death and my family's subsequent grief, which I fictionalized in Torch, lent itself to the kind of deep character excavation I was compelled to do as a writer. I've always been most interested in exploring relationships and delving into what motivates us, what complicates us, what crushes and saves us and, quite naturally, I've drawn from my own life experiences to do that in both my fiction and my nonfiction. The personal essays I've written for magazines like Allure and Self and the New York Times Magazine and The Sun all explore the same kinds of themes I do in Torch. Having said that, real life is only the raw material from which the story is spun and so the process of writing is not cathartic, but instead creative. Certainly, there are scenes in Torch that are close to my heart, but I didn't write Torch in ...

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $45 for 12 months or $15 for 3 months.
  • More about membership!

Books by this Author

Books by Cheryl Strayed at BookBrowse
Wild jacket Torch jacket
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $45 for 12 months or $15 for 3 months.
  • More about membership!

Readalikes

All the books below are recommended as readalikes for Cheryl Strayed but some maybe more relevant to you than others depending on which books by the author you have read and enjoyed. So look for the suggested read-alikes by title linked on the right.
How we choose readalikes

  • Elizabeth Berg

    Elizabeth Berg

    Elizabeth Berg is the author of many bestselling novels, including Open House (an Oprah's Book Club selection), Talk Before Sleep, and The Year of Pleasures, as well as the short story collection The Day I Ate Whatever I... (more)

    If you enjoyed:
    Torch

    Try:
    Never Change
    by Elizabeth Berg

  • Joan Didion

    Joan Didion

    Joan Didion (1934-2021) was born in Sacramento, CA, the daughter of an officer in the Army Air Corps. A shy, bookish child, Didion spent her teenage years typing out Ernest Hemingway stories to learn how sentences work. She ... (more)

    If you enjoyed:
    Torch

    Try:
    The Year of Magical Thinking
    by Joan Didion

We recommend 5 similar authors

View all 5 Readalikes

Non-members can see 2 results. Become a member
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $45 for 12 months or $15 for 3 months.
  • More about membership!

Join and Save 20%!

Become a member and
discover exceptional books.

Find out more


Top Picks

  • Book Jacket: I'm the Girl
    I'm the Girl
    by Courtney Summers
    YA author Courtney Summers doesn't believe in shielding her teenage readers from the world's darkest...
  • Book Jacket: They're Going to Love You
    They're Going to Love You
    by Meg Howrey
    Teenage Carlisle lives with her mother in Ohio, but their relationship has never felt particularly ...
  • Book Jacket: The Life and Crimes of Hoodie Rosen
    The Life and Crimes of Hoodie Rosen
    by Isaac Blum
    That irreplaceable feeling of everyone knowing your name. The yearning to be anonymous. Parents ...
  • Book Jacket: Now Is Not the Time to Panic
    Now Is Not the Time to Panic
    by Kevin Wilson
    The edge is a shantytown filled with gold seekers. We are fugitives, and the law is skinny with ...

Members Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    Dinosaurs
    by Lydia Millet

    "Tender but never sentimental, wearing its intelligence in a low-slung style, Dinosaurs is a garden of earthly delights."—Vogue

Wordplay

Solve this clue:

W N, W Not

and be entered to win..

Book Club Discussion

Book Jacket
Honor
by Thrity Umrigar
Set in India, a tender and evocative novel about love across a cultural divide, familial devotion and betrayal.
Who Said...

The most successful people are those who are good at plan B

Click Here to find out who said this, as well as discovering other famous literary quotes!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends the best in contemporary fiction and nonfiction—books that not only engage and entertain but also deepen our understanding of ourselves and the world around us.