About Julia

(Nathaniel Wilder photo)

Julia O’Malley, a third-generation Alaskan, is a journalist, teacher, editor and cook who lives in Anchorage. Her work in newsrooms, classrooms and kitchens explores Alaska’s culture, politics, climate and food.

In early 2022 she began a year as Writer-in-Residence at Anchorage Museum, as part of a collaboration with Anchorage Daily News, working on the NEIGHBORS project that explores Anchorage residents’ pandemic experiences and what comes next.

Her book about Alaska’s foodways, “The Whale and The Cupcake: Stories of Subsistence, Longing, and Community in Alaska,” created in collaboration with the Anchorage Museum and published by University of Washington Press, came out in December 2019. (Order it here!) (Listen to it on Audible here!) Julia received a James Beard Award in 2018 for a story about a young whale hunter, Chris Apassingok, who was cyber-bullied by environmentalists after he took a whale in the village of Gambell.

Julia has worked as an editor at Alaska Public Media and the Anchorage Daily News. She’s written for The New York TimesThe Washington Post, High Country News, Today.com, The NationThe GuardianNational Geographic News, and Eater,  among other publications. (Find all her clips here.) She writes recipes for the Anchorage Daily News and Edible Alaska. She also teaches and organizes independent workshops around Alaska on memoir and food journalism. She is board president of the Alaska Press Club.

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Other publications and experience:

Julia was the visiting Atwood Chair of Journalism at the University of Alaska Anchorage from 2015-2017, where she taught food writing, social media, community reporting and digital journalism.

Julia wrote a twice-weekly metro column about Alaska life and politics for the Anchorage Daily News from 2009 to 2014. Her  work has been recognized with some of country’s most prestigious feature-writing prizes.

In 2014, she won a Berger Award from Columbia Journalism School for a series of stories, “The things that happen: two boys and cancer” about two teenage boys, best friends, one of them Lao and one of them Hmong, who were diagnosed with cancer at the same time. (Click here for her Journalism Day speech at Columbia). 

In 2011, her series on opiate addiction in Anchorage, “Hooked: One Addict’s Story,” which she worked on with photographer Marc Lester, won the Darrell Sifford Memorial Prize from the Missouri School of Journalism, a Blethen Award, first place in the Society of Professional Journalists Pacific Northwest Excellence in Journalism contest for social issues reporting. That same year, her columns won first place for general commentary from the Society for Features Journalists.

In 2008, a body of her work won the Scripps-Howard Foundation’s Ernie Pyle award for the best human-interest writing in America.

She is a graduate of Smith College and the mother of two boys.

14 thoughts on “About Julia

  • I’ve been reading and enjoying your writing you were a staffer at the Daily News in high school. I have moved out of Alaska but appreciate being able to follow you still. Best wishes!

  • Hi Julia! Happy Thanksgiving Greetings from Mendenhall Golf in Juneau! Your granola recipe sounds great! We are retired from having to be at the course everyday. Our grandson Dan and is family have taken over for us. Time does fly by, but we have fond memories of our golfing friends. Enjoy the holiday season! Blessings! Koggie and Tom

  • I look forward to reading “whatever you write” I have missed your column.

  • Hi Julia,
    I, too, miss your regular columns, but are ever so grateful you continue to inspire with your Facebook connection. You are a remarkably talented journalist, and I look forward to more from you.

  • A story needs to be written regarding the proposed cost of care increases facing the Alaska Veterans and Pioneers Homes. My wife, a victim of Alzheimer’s, and I live there. Clinton Lasley, Division Director of the 6 homes in Alaska is proposing the rates be more than doubled.
    An investigation needs to happen.

  • This comment is coming from a progressive. Which of these is not like the others: criticism of antifa, how trans athletes are taking over women’s sports, and the injustice of affirmative action. The answer is the middle one. Read the quite balanced article in the Times 2-3 days ago. This comment is coming from a progressive with an LGBT son. Complex issue requiring sensitive treatment.

  • Me too. You are the best. Funny, serious, philosophical without being pushy. A true, award winning, published Alaska writer. You go girl! Mazel tov.

  • Karen and I thoroughly enjoyed your article about lost (and found) Anchorage this morning. You are a treasure. Thanks!

  • Long time fan, first time commenter.
    Thank you for the pumpkin brioche cinnamon roll recipe.
    Thank you very much.
    Every year, I fall for all the promises of adorable sugar pumpkins. They are the perfect understated fall decor, with a long, albeit not eternal, display window that I inevitability feel compelled to close with an edible, being both thrifty by nature/nurture as well as generally waste-averse.
    However, sweet as they may be, sugar pumpkins have betrayed me on occasion when I have attempted to complete the seasonal circle and use them to make pumpkin pie. Possibly something to do with slightly variable moisture and/or texture factors. More likely something to do with the fact that I don’t bake on the regular enough to intuitively improvise adjustments when it comes to certain aspects of kitchen alchemy.
    Your recipe broke me free from the circle and onto a rectangular plane that I Intend to revisit. And riff off, while smugly justifying a seasonal treat as another vehicle for incorporating an antioxidant superfood into our holidays.

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