Lacy M. Johnson

John Carrithers 

Lacy M. Johnson’s The Reckonings is an essential meditation on the topic of justice, offering readers profound and deeply original ideas about what it is and what it might look like. Her essays find new language to describe and document forms of violence that range in scale from the personal, to political, to environmental.  Johnson demonstrates how to find answers to overwhelming questions of victimhood and accountability by looking to the arts, history, nature, and our own personal narratives. Ultimately, Johnson’s writings are portals to important, thoughtful and generous conversations in communities and on campuses everywhere.

“The Reckonings is not a book about changing the world. It's philosophy in disguise, equal parts memoir, criticism, and ethics. It has bits of Eula Biss, Leslie Jamison, and Simone Weil, but its patron saint is Grace Paley ... The 12 essays in The Reckonings are 12 beginnings. Each one deserves great consideration, while you read it and long after. Each one leaves the work up to you.” —

Johnson’s memoir The Other Side was published to widespread acclaim and remains a beloved and important memoir of domestic violence and is widely taught at the college level. Her remarkable courage and unrelenting honesty in telling the story of the day the man she loved kidnapped her, assaulted her and ultimately tried to kill her garnered widespread recognition from readers, audiences and critics. It was named a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award in Autobiography, the Dayton Literary Peace Prize, an Edgar Award in Best Fact Crime, and the CLMP Firecracker Award in Nonfiction.


Her writing has appeared in The New Yorker, The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, Tin House, Guernica, and elsewhere. She lives in Houston and teaches creative nonfiction at Rice University.