Short Bio and More if You're Interested.
Laurel DiGangi lives in the Los Angeles region but spent most of her early career working as a graphic designer in Chicago. A first generation college student, she finally earned her bachelor’s in art history from the University of Illinois/Chicago when she was 37 and master’s in English at 40. She’s dabbled in writing since childhood, but her brother’s untimely death inspired her to pursue her passion more seriously. Since then, her work has appeared in The Chicago Reader, Fourth Genre: Explorations in Nonfiction, and Atlanta Quarterly. She currently serves as coordinator of tutoring services at Woodbury University.
More if You're Interested
I have always loved to write. I kept numerous teenage and young adult journals, filled, respectively, with interjections and introspections. After high school, I went to a (now-defunct) Chicago art school for two years and spent the first part of my professional life as a graphic designer, working for publishers, design offices, and ad agencies.
I never thought to pursue a writing career until my early thirties, after my younger brother died of a drug overdose. Writing not only helped me cope with my grief, but I soon realized that my own relatively sane life could end suddenly. That’s when I decided to heed my bucket list and take my writer’s passion seriously.
I discovered Storyarts workshops, an informal group led by writer Paul Pekin, whose inspiration and support led to my first published piece in the Chicago Reader, one of the nation’s largest alternative newspapers, with a peak circulation of 138,000. I soon became a regular contributor.
My success inspired me to finish my undergraduate degree in art history and earn a prestigious Phi Beta Kappa key, followed by an MA in English from University of Illinois/Chicago.
Moving to Southern California enabled me to officially shift focus from design to writing. Since then, my journalism and promotional writing has appeared in both print and online publications related to health care, medicine, business, and entertainment. In addition, my fiction, memoir, and creative nonfiction has appeared in numerous literary magazines, and one story was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. And like a true California scribe, I penned a few scripts that were contest finalists and subsequently optioned.
Speaking of So-Cal, only here could I have met Johnny Depp at a press junket for his film, Blow, snatched his warm cigarette butt from the ashtray, and later sold it on Ebay for $200 to a woman from Japan. I also like to brag that at a press junket for the re-release of Blood Simple, I told a joke that made Joel and Ethan Coen laugh.