My given name is Simon J. Dahlman, but people call me Jim. (The nickname involves a long family story, full of mystery and conflicting accounts.) My usual byline is S. J. Dahlman, which is very helpful when screening for telemarketing calls.
Here’s a quick rundown:
Personal: Husband to Stacy; father of two grown daughters and one son-in-law, and two stepchildren. (I’ll resist the urge to dad-brag here. But feel free to ask about my kids. Please.) I’m a Christian. I grew up in New York City and Tampa, Fla., and lived in Wigan, England; Cincinnati, Ohio; and Colorado Springs, Colo., until moving to Johnson City, Tenn., in 1999, to teach journalism. I’m also the chief steward for two cats. I’ve been an avid runner (Boston Marathon 2014, among others), hiker (see below) and soccer player (ret.).
Professional: My day job is professor of communications and humanities at Milligan College, where I teach courses in journalism and media law and ethics, advise the student news organizations, and serve as chair of the Performing, Visual, and Communicative Arts Area (Department).
As a freelance journalist, I wrote a weekly column on religion for the Johnson City (Tenn.) Press for seven years and wrote a monthly column for Christian Standard magazine for a dozen. I’ve been published in a variety of newspapers and magazines, including The Guardian (UK), Leadership Journal, and the Cincinnati Enquirer. For five years in the mid 1980s, I was the minister of a small church in Wigan, England.
I’m happy to announce that my new book, A Familiar Wilderness: Searching for Home on Daniel Boone’s Road (University of Tennessee Press), was published in March 2019. It tells the story of my solo hike from northeast Tennessee to Fort Boonesborough in central Kentucky, roughly following the path of Boone’s original trail-blazing route in 1775 that opened up the West. It’s part travel story, part history, and part narrative journalism, including profiles and interviews of dozens of people I met along the way. (The photo here is me at the end of that journey, at Fort Boonesborough State Park.)
Education: M.F.A., creative nonfiction, Goucher College, 2014;M.A., English (editing and publishing), University of Cincinnati, 1998; B.A., Milligan College, 1980 (cum laude).