Erica Berry is the 2019-20 Front Street Writers teaching fellow.
Berry grew up in Portland, Ore., and went to Bowdoin College in Maine, where she worked at the student newspaper, eventually becoming the editor. She graduated with honors and a degree in English and environmental studies.
Journalism continues to influence her writing projects. “I began by writing fiction and poetry, but the genres inform each other. The skills of journalism — rigorous research, observing concrete details, being able to ask questions and think critically — are helpful in whatever I’m writing. Studying creative writing and journalism have helped me develop confidence and articulate myself both on and off the page. Every job you have, you’re always drawing back on those skills.”
After graduating from Bowdoin, Berry landed a job at a cooking school in Sicily, where she helped make a documentary, Amuri: The Sacred Flavors of Sicily, about endangered food traditions. She continues to teach a food writing course annually at the Anna Tasca Lanza Cooking School.
While in Sicily, she applied to grad school and moved to Minneapolis to get her Master’s of Fine Arts in creative nonfiction at the University of Minnesota. While there, she taught creative writing to undergraduates, often with a focus on environmental issues. She spent this past July in Oxford, England, teaching journalism to teenagers on a New York Times Student Journeys trip. “I loved working with this age group, witnessing the connections they were making and seeing how they could develop and change perspectives in just a few weeks. The chance to work with high-schoolers over a year is a huge privilege.”