My heart and home is Lancaster, Pennsylvania, where my father was born a ninth-generation Mennonite in the middle of Amish country. I grew up surrounded by the countryside my family had farmed and roamed since the early 1700’s when they came to the U.S. to escape religious persecution in Germany and Switzerland. My people were Harnishes and Mylins, Herrs and Landises, the Anabaptist stock that gives Lancaster its distinct and strangely alluring flavor. My father settled in the quiet river hills of the county’s southern end, along a creek that I now consider something like a family member, the Tucquan. Its taste and smell are part of my permanent vocabulary.

Despite these deep roots in one place–or perhaps because of them–I get around. I’ve lived on both coasts and I’ve traveled through more countries than you can count on six hands. But I’m happy to hang my gloves in Brooklyn’s Red Hook these days.

I am currently a visiting scholar at The Center for Religion and Media at New York University where I am a contributing editor to The Revealer, founded by journalist Jeff Sharlet in 2003.  For The Revealer I write a monthly column, “The Patient Body,” which examines issues at the intersection of religion and medicine. My articles have appeared at Bookforum, New York Law ReviewGuernica magazine (where I’m a contributing nonfiction editor), Lapham’s QuarterlyKilling the Buddha, Religion Dispatches and The Nation.  (A full list of articles can be found here.)

The Good Death: An Exploration of Dying in America, my first book, will be published by Beacon Press in January 2016.

I can be reached at otherspoon[at]yahoo[dot]com.

10 Comments on “About”

  1. […] her essay “Race, Religion, & Commodification of a Good Death,” Ann Neumann writes “we think death will gracefully crawl into bed with us,” and “embrace us into that […]

  2. Mickey Davis says:

    Good bless you. I have stage 4 cancer an 69 but still plan on skiing this April with my kids the doctors say I could live to be a hundred but my body tells me otherwise. I think I could do hospice care despite my cancer. I know what it’s like to fear imminent death, and also how wonderful it is to feel a breeze on my neck, à child’s smile, à dog’s happy bark. Those are the things that make each day irreplaceable and priceless

  3. Brian says:

    Wonderful article in the NY Times today. Very much looking forward to your first book!

  4. Chloe Flanagan says:

    Your article “Their Dying Wishes” was lovely. I was a pastoral care volunteer at my local hospital for two years and can relate to your descriptions of how patients use simple, quotidian things to reaffirm and share their humanity.

  5. Loved finding this and to hear of your book and your work. A link was sent via fellow Lancaster-county-born Shirley Hershey Showalter, author of Blush: A Mennonite Girl Meets a Glittering World. And yes, she married into the same Showalter tribe of Mary Emma Showalter tribe author of the cookbook I’m sure you went to for your ham loaf, Mennonite Community Cookbook. Herald Press has just come out with a 65th anniversary edition so you can guess we were delighted to see this mention! http://store.mennomedia.org/Mennonite-Community-Cookbook-P4482.aspx

  6. Jesse says:

    Your NYTimes artcle will haunt me for a long time. Your work terrifies and calms me.

  7. Holly Clark says:

    A beautiful, heartfelt essay. Those in the care of this wonderful woman are blessed indeed.

  8. Arlene Herrington says:

    Your article captures what I’m trying to help my family understand. I cared for first my dad then my mom until they passed away. Neither of them planned to die, so made no preperations. I’m trying to do the opposite – stay ahead of the curve for as long as possible, have as much as possible finished before it’s my turn to go. I’m running a copy of your article for my family to read, will purchase your book in Jan. 2016. Thank you……………

  9. Linda Jackson says:

    I am a hospice volunteer and can totally embrace the stories in this article. I love what I do to help patients through the final months and days of life…..providing Reiki, Comfort Touch, or just holding hands and being present with them. This is sacred work.

  10. Mickey Davis says:

    God bless you. It is good work because it threatens to be terrifying to most of us. I’d like to do it too.

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