“Cultural anthropology at its most exuberant.”
—The New Yorker
About Hank Stuever
Hank Stuever is the senior editor of the Washington Post’s Style section, focused on maintaining the mix of culture, trends and politics that have defined the daily section throughout its five-decade history. He joined the Post in 1999 as a features writer in Style, and he was the paper’s TV critic from 2009 to 2020.
Stuever was born and raised in Oklahoma City and earned a journalism degree from Loyola University in New Orleans. He previously worked at newspapers in Austin and Albuquerque and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in feature writing twice, in 1993 and 1996. He has appeared on several TV shows (Today, The View, The Late Late Show) and public radio programs. In 2012, he was the T. Anthony Pollner visiting professor at the University of Montana’s School of Journalism.
He is the author of two books: Off Ramp, a collection of his essays and articles (2004, Henry Holt & Co.), and Tinsel, a nonfiction book about the emotional and economic impact of Christmas (2009, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt). He lives with his partner, Michael Wichita, in Washington, D.C.
In Tinsel, Hank Stuever turns his unerring eye for the idiosyncrasies of modern life to Frisco, Texas—a suburb at once all-American and completely itself—to tell the story of the nation’s most over-the-top celebration: Christmas. Stuever’s tale begins on the blissful easy-credit dawn of Black Friday, as he jostles for bargains among the crowds at the big-box stores. From there he follows Frisco’s true believers as they navigate through three years of holiday drama. Tammie Parnell is the proprietor of “Two Elves with a Twist,” a company that decks the halls of other people’s McMansions. Jeff and Bridgette Trykoski spend eleven months preparing the visible-from-space, awe-inspiring light display they stage on their lawn each December. And single mother Caroll Cavazos, a devout churchgoer, hopes that the life-affirming moments of the season can transcend her everyday struggles. Tinsel is a humane, revealing, and very funny portrait of one community’s quest to discover a more perfect holiday amidst the frenzied, mega-churchy, shoparific world of Christmas.
In his unique, funny, and haunting reports from "Elsewhere," Hank Stuever records the odd and touching realities of modern life in everyday places. Elsewhere might be revealed in the tract-house adventures of a home-décor reality show, at a discount funeral home in a strip mall, or in the story of an armed man named Honey Bear in the hunt for his beloved but now missing sleeper sofa which he left in a storage unit. Off Ramp shows us America through the humorous gaze of Hank Stuever, who finds beauty in the midst of the most unlikely and invisible lives and places.
Praise for Hank's Work
“Stuever reaches to the core of the human condition… A mixture of compelling writing style and deep reflection.”
—The Denver Post
“Mr. Stuever is one of those increasingly rare creatures: a journalist who has his heart in the right place.”
—Joe Queenan, author of Closing Time
“Stuever’s voice maintains a comfortable balance between the sardonic and the empathetic. His is a refreshing take on America.”
“Laugh-out-loud funny … Stuever’s keen eye misses very little.”
“[A] razor-sharp eye … a master class in top-notch journalism.”
“Stuever’s fascination with and empathy for the human experience are abundant.”
—Minneapolis Star Tribune
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