Bronwen Dickey


Bronwen Dickey is a contributing editor at The Oxford American and the author of Pit Bull: The Battle over an American Icon (Alfred A. Knopf, 2016). Her writing has also appeared in The New York TimesNewsweekOutsideSlateGarden & GunBest American Travel WritingThe San Francisco ChronicleSouthern Living, World Hum, Sport Diver, and The Independent Weekly, among other publications. She lives in North Carolina.


When Bronwen Dickey brought her new dog home, she saw no traces of the infamous viciousness in her affectionate, timid pit bull. Which made her wonder: how had the breed—beloved by Teddy Roosevelt, Helen Keller, TV's "Little Rascals"—come to be known as a brutal fighter. Her search for answers takes her from nineteenth-century New York City dogfighting pits—the cruelty of which helped spark the founding of the ASPCA—to early twentieth-century movie sets where pit bulls cavorted with Fatty Arbuckle and Buster Keaton; from the battlefields of Gettysburg and the Marne, where mascot pit bulls inspired American troops, to desolate urban neighborhoods where the dogs were brutalized. Whether through love or fear, hatred or devotion, humans are bound to the history of the pit bull. With unfailing thoughtfulness, compassion, and a firm grasp of scientific fact, Dickey offers us a clear-eyed portrait of this extraordinary breed, and an insightful view of Americans' relationship with their dogs.



The Last Wild River | Oxford American, 2008

  • Included in Best American Travel Writing 2009
  • Winner: 2009 Lowell Thomas Travel Journalism Award
  • Listen to an interview about this piece on American Public Media's "The Story with Dick Gordon" 

Southern Enemy Number One: Ralph McGill and the Burden of History | Oxford American, 2009

The Rapture of the Deep: Diving the Sunken South | Oxford American, 2011

Born to Be Wild | Outside, 2010

Licked to Death by a Pit Bull | Garden & Gun, 2011



The Short List: Dogs | The New York Times, 2014

The American Muck | Slate, 2014

Hurt Soldier: Coping with Life After Combat | The Independent Weekly

Unsentimental Journeys: Wrestling with Paul Theroux | World Hum

The Water is Wide | World Hum

Chuck Thompson's Smile When You're Lying The San Francisco Chronicle


Travel Features: 

Five Days in Papua New Guinea | Sport Diver, February 2012

Into the Forest (Great Smoky Mountains, NC) | Our State, October 2011

Legacy of Protection (Grand Cayman) | Sport Diver, October 2011

The Surprisingly Complex Science of Sinking | Sport Diver, August 2011

Roanoke Island: Manteo | Our State, July 2011

Paradise in Peril (Maldives) | Sport Diver, December 2010

The Story Hunters | Southern Living, September 2010

Exotic Escapes: Thailand | Scuba Diving, August 2010

Essential Europe: Scotland's Scapa Flow | Scuba Diving, July 2010

What It's Like . . . to Dive an Underwater Cemetery | Scuba Diving, March 2010

Bottom Time Behind the Glass | Scuba Diving, November 2009

Desert Divers (Sea of Cortez) | Scuba Diving, November 2009

Night Stalkers | Scuba Diving, September 2009

Dive Islands: Palau | Scuba Diving, September 2009

Top Dives: Belize | Scuba Diving, September 2009

Belize: Inside, Outside, and Underneath | Sport Diver, July 2009

Palau: Into the Shallows | Islands, Mar/Apr 2008

A Young Artist in Puerto Rico | Garden & Gun, September 2007



















Events and appearances


October 16, 2015:

Signing: Carolina Writers at Home (Hub City)(Amazon)

         Upfront Gallery

         Durham, NC

         7:00 p.m.

October 17, 2015:

Signing: Carolina Writers at Home (Hub City)(Amazon)

         Flyleaf Books

         Chapel Hill, NC

         2:00 p.m.

December 4, 2015: 

Signing: Carolina Writers at Home (Hub City)(Amazon)

         The Regulator Bookshop

         Durham, NC 

         7:00 p.m.



Coming soon . . . 




  • "Patti Smith, Judy Blume, Robert Caro, and More Literary Legends on the Biggest Books of the Year" (