James Conaway


James Conaway is a former Wallace Stegner fellow at Stanford University and the author of thirteen books, including Napa at Last Light and the New York Times bestseller, Napa: The Story of an American Eden. His work has appeared in The New York Times Magazine, The Atlantic, Harper's, The New Republic, Gourmet, Smithsonian, and National Geographic Traveler. He is working on a memoir about the freelancing life.

Last Tango

A bad potboiler is not made better by stylish writing; it is made worse. 

Who’s Afraid of Barbara Wawa?

That I have no idea who Barbara Walters is doesn’t matter nearly as much as the fact that this is the Times.


The official publication day came and went. I felt weirdly out of it, waiting for something I had anticipated for half my life and worked toward unremittingly.

Starting Out

When the going was good for a fledgling writer.

Rancho Rajneesh

No one works in Rajneeshpuram. They “worship.” Worship includes grading roads, plowing fields, pursuing the many lawsuits brought by Bhagwan in Oregon. 

Encountering the High Arctic

Nature reveals itself when you are helpless.

All Ben’s Boys

An institution entering the last of its salad days while still running on the fumes of its preening self-importance.

My Name Is Jim

I have been drinking alcohol since I was 15.