J. Ryan Stradal


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Ryan Stradal’s first novel, Kitchens of the Great Midwest, was released in 2015, and he participated in the Iowa City Book Fair and recorded this On the Fly interview the same year. The book festival was the first he’d attended as an author rather than a reader.

Stradal discusses the research he did about food for his novel, while also admitting that he was a “teenage foodie.” He reveals his influences—which include his mother, his second grade teacher, and his elementary school librarian—who gave him “a lot of latitude as a kid to be creative.” Issues of class and class mobility, he says, are central to both his debut novel and to his conception of his next project.

Stradal also talks about his work in unscripted television programming and how it relates to his efforts as a writer.

Kitchens of the Midwest has collected honors from the American Booksellers Association, the Midwest Independent Booksellers Association, and the Southern California Independent Booksellers Association.