Skip to content

Hope Nisly  is a retired librarian, a writer, and an editor. She has lived in California (Oakland and Fresno County) nearly half of her life, but she grew up in Iowa and spent 13 years on the East Coast (Virginia, Washington, D.C., and upstate New York). This semi-nomadic life, with all the discomfort of frequent uprooting, has given her glimpses of life in various parts of this country. She writes creative nonfiction and micro nonfiction, with only brief excursions into the land of fiction. However, as her favorite essayist Jo Ann Beard writes, her stories “are also essays, in their own secret ways, and the essays are also stories.” (From Beard’s Author’s Note in Festival of Days.)

Hope has graduate degrees in history and library science. Despite her career as librarian, her first and lasting loves are archives and manuscript collections. The smells and the mysteries that reside in any archives provide a tantalizing window into other times and previous lives. In addition to her librarianship, Hope is also the book review editor for Pacific Journal; has been a beta reader for several novelists and memoirists; has edited academic articles and monographs in political science, history and theology; and coordinated the Jean and Louis Janzen Visting Writers Series. Hope is on the board of the Near-Far Theater, has served as facilitator of a local Peace Center, and co-chaired several academic literature conferences.

In retirement, Hope has become passionate about three things: participating in political efforts to maintain democracy, finding paths to joyful activism (often through writing), and practicing radical self-care. As such, you will find her walking the precinct or on the phone during all election years in GOTV efforts. In order to keep doing that, she writes personal essays, reads, pieces jigsaw puzzles (a form of meditation: see her essay on puzzles), bakes bread, embroiders odd designs on handkerchiefs and tea towels, does a daily practice of “doodling for writers”, composes flash/micro observations of the mundane, and stirs up recipes from around the world for supper. These things, all together, provide purpose while maintaining sanity.

Hope lives in a small Central Valley (CA) town with her husband, Douglas. They travel as frequently as possible, play Scrabble and Amazing Labyrinth, and argue about the quotidian aspects of life while mostly agreeing on the Big Issues.  They have two adult children, Barbara and Matthew. Her husband and children are sources of frequent inspiration, as well as the subject of many written reflections. They, quite generously, have not only accepted it, but encouraged it. For that, she thanks them.

Back To Top