Jonah Willihnganz is the Director of the Stanford Storytelling Project, an arts program that explores how story craft and practices can be used to create personal and social change. He is also the co-founder of the LifeWorks Program for Integrative Learning in the School of Medicine, a program that helps students explore orientations and practices from the arts, humanities, psychology, and contemplative traditions that can help them meet the challenges they face.

His research focuses on how narrative practices can help deepen natural human capacities such as presence, courage, and empathy, and he has published fiction, essays, and articles on American literature. He teaches courses in creative writing, American literature, media studies, and critical theory, and created the first college courses on storytelling in audio media. A long-time contemplative and student of Aikido, he incorporates their practices of into many of his courses, and he helps faculty integrate both narrative and contemplative practices into their courses.

He received a bachelor's degree in political economy from Georgetown University, an MFA in creative writing from Hollins University, and a PhD in English from Brown. He belongs to the communities of the San Francisco Zen Center and Palo Alto Friends (Quakers), is a slow but avid swimmer, and is learning to fly fish.

Education & Certifications

  • PhD, Brown University, English (2003)
  • MA, Brown University, English (1999)
  • MFA, Hollins University, Creative Writing (1991)
  • BSFS, Georgetown University, School of Foreign Service (1989)

All Publications