Linda Egenes

Curious about her Amish neighbors, Linda Egenes (pronounced egg-uh-ness) made friends in three Iowa Amish communities and wrote essays about her experiences for The Iowa Source, Plain magazine and The Plain Reader Anthology. Later she collected these in Visits with the Amish: Impressions of the Plain Life (University of Iowa Press, 2009).

Her other nonfiction books include The Ramayana: A New Retelling of Valmiki’s Ancient Epic (TarcherPerigee, a division of Penguin Random House, 2016) and three books on Ayurveda, co-authored with Kumuda Reddy, M.D. Linda has also written over 700 articles on travel, alternative health and sustainable living and was co-editor of Enlightenment magazine for two years.

For kids, Linda has written nonfiction for the history magazine Cobblestone, poetry for the literary magazine Cricket and short stories for Timeless Wisdom audiobooks. Her creative nonfiction has been anthologized in Scott Foresman’s Celebrate Reading!, a reader for fourth grade. As young people’s editor for Plain magazine, she interviewed Amish teenagers and wrote about their daily lives. Linda is currently completing a historical novel for young adults set in the Amish community of Kalona, Iowa, in 1944.

A graduate of Illinois State University with a B.A. in education, Linda taught third through fifth grades at a private elementary school. After earning her M.A. in professional writing at Maharishi International University, she taught children’s literature to undergraduate teaching candidates, creative nonfiction to graduate students, and is currently teaching in the M.F.A. in Creative Writing there. Linda lives in Fairfield, Iowa, with her husband, Thomas Egenes, a Sanskrit professor and author. In her spare time she likes to read YA novels, garden, sketch, walk in nature, play pickleball, swim and take endless photographs of the sunrise.

“I remember the first time I encountered infinity. I was six years old, playing on the porch of the rental house where we lived while my father built our new home. I sat down next to my crayon box, cradling a brand-new coloring book. On the cover was a little girl holding a coloring book just like the one I was holding, and by squinting I could see an even tinier girl on the cover of her coloring book holding her own microscopic coloring book. I imagined coloring books within coloring books stretching on and on, never ending. An exquisite space of stillness opened up inside of me, and I sat quietly on the porch, the coloring book in my lap, for a long time.

“My quest to understand my inner self led me to practice meditation for the past 50 years. This daily dive within has opened my mind to the infinite expanse that I glimpsed as a six-year-old. My desire to convey that sense of wonder—and to help others to experience it in everyday life too—is the thread that weaves itself through all of my writing, whatever the topic or genre.”

—Linda Egenes