Ava Chin, a Queens native, is the author of the award-winning Eating Wildly: Foraging for Life, Love, and the Perfect Meal (Simon & Schuster, 2014) and the former Urban Forager columnist for the New York Times (2009-2013). She has written for the Los Angeles Times Sunday Magazine, Saveur, Marie Claire, the Village Voice, and SPIN. She holds a Ph.D. from the University of Southern California, and an M.A. from the Writing Seminars at Johns Hopkins University. A New York Institute for Humanities fellow at New York University, she is an associate professor of creative nonfiction and journalism at CUNY. The Huffington Post named her one of “9 Contemporary Authors You Should Be Reading.”
1st Prize Winner of the 2015 MFK Fisher Book Awards, Eating Wildly: Foraging for Life, Love, and the Perfect Meal was one of Library Journal’s “Best Books of 2014” and a Goodreads Choice Awards 2014 semifinalist. NPR’s The Splendid Table chose it for their Staff Book Picks of 2014, and Kirkus Reviews described it as “A delectable feast of the heart.”
Eating Wildly reveals how foraging and the DIY-food movement helped Chin to heal up from the wound of an absent father and taught her important lessons in self-reliance. After a romantic break-up and the loss of a beloved family member, she immerses herself in places like Prospect and Central Parks, discovering the city’s best mushrooms, mulberries, and even a swarm of wild honeybees slated for extermination on Staten Island, meeting fellow foragers and mycologists along the way. As the seasons turn, she starts to see the world as a place of abundance and beauty, where everything is interconnected and interdependent—and timing is key.
She is the editor of Split: Stories From a Generation Raised on Divorce (McGraw-Hill, 2002) a collection of nonfiction essays about growing up in a divorced family, which Booklist called a “brave and insightful collection.” Her essay “The Missing” reveals the challenges of being raised by a single mother, and how she eventually met her estranged father as an adult.
A former slam poet, Chin has performed on stages at the Whitney Museum, the Knitting Factory, and the Nuyorican Poets Cafe. She was a Van Lier Fellow in fiction at the Asian American Writers’ Workshop and a Lilly Lieb writer-in-residence at SUNY-Purchase. The American Book Review described her prose as “piquant,” and the German newspaper Taz wrote “her poetry reflects the noise and heat of the New York metropolis.”
She lives in Manhattan with her husband and daughter.