About Julia

(Nathaniel Wilder photo)

Julia O’Malley, a third-generation Alaskan, is a journalist, teacher, editor and cook who lives in Anchorage. Her work in newsrooms, classrooms and kitchens explores Alaska’s cultures, politics, climate and food.

She is presently part-time curator at Anchorage Museum, writing about and researching Alaskans’ relationship to salmon at a time of historic, climate-related volatility. She also teaches culinary arts and journalism at University of Alaska, Anchorage.

In 2022, as Writer-in-Residence at Anchorage Museum, part of a collaboration with Anchorage Daily News, she spent a year writing with the public and publishing articles about Anchorage residents’ pandemic experiences as part of the NEIGHBORS project.

Her book about Alaska’s foodways, “The Whale and The Cupcake: Stories of Subsistence, Longing, and Community in Alaska,” created in collaboration with the Anchorage Museum and published by University of Washington Press, came out in December 2019. (Order it here!) (Listen to it on Audible here!)

Julia received a James Beard Award in 2024 for a story about the cultural and economic implications of the climate-related crash of snow crab on Saint Paul Island, a place where Russian colonists and the federal government coerced Indigenous people into hunting seal for furs well into the 20th Century. She also received a James Beard Award in 2018 for a story about a young whale hunter, Chris Apassingok, who was cyber-bullied by environmentalists after he took a whale in the village of Gambell. (She was also nominated for a James Beard Award in 2015.) 

Julia has worked as an editor at Alaska Public Media and the Anchorage Daily News. She’s written for The New York TimesThe Washington Post, High Country News, The NationThe GuardianNational Geographic News, and Eater,  among other publications. (Find all her clips here.) She writes recipes for the Anchorage Daily News and Edible Alaska. She also teaches and organizes independent workshops around Alaska on memoir and food journalism. She is board president of the Alaska Press Club.


Other publications and experience:

Julia was the visiting Atwood Chair of Journalism at the University of Alaska Anchorage from 2015-2017, where she taught food writing, social media, community reporting and digital journalism.

Julia wrote a twice-weekly metro column about Alaska life and politics for the Anchorage Daily News from 2009 to 2014. Her  work has been recognized with some of country’s most prestigious feature-writing prizes.

In 2014, she won a Berger Award from Columbia Journalism School for a series of stories, “The things that happen: two boys and cancer” about the spiritual worlds of two teenage boys, best friends, one of them Lao and one of them Hmong, who were diagnosed with cancer at the same time. (Click here for her Journalism Day speech at Columbia). 

In 2011, her series on opiate addiction in Anchorage, “Hooked: One Addict’s Story,” which she worked on with photographer Marc Lester, won the Darrell Sifford Memorial Prize from the Missouri School of Journalism, a Blethen Award, first place in the Society of Professional Journalists Pacific Northwest Excellence in Journalism contest for social issues reporting. That same year, her columns won first place for general commentary from the Society for Features Journalists.

In 2008, a body of her work won the Scripps-Howard Foundation’s Ernie Pyle award for the best human-interest writing in America.

She is a graduate of Smith College and the mother of two boys.

James Beard Award Nominee logo

20 thoughts on “About Julia

  • I’ve been reading and enjoying your writing you were a staffer at the Daily News in high school. I have moved out of Alaska but appreciate being able to follow you still. Best wishes!

  • Hi Julia! Happy Thanksgiving Greetings from Mendenhall Golf in Juneau! Your granola recipe sounds great! We are retired from having to be at the course everyday. Our grandson Dan and is family have taken over for us. Time does fly by, but we have fond memories of our golfing friends. Enjoy the holiday season! Blessings! Koggie and Tom

  • I look forward to reading “whatever you write” I have missed your column.

  • Hi Julia,
    I, too, miss your regular columns, but are ever so grateful you continue to inspire with your Facebook connection. You are a remarkably talented journalist, and I look forward to more from you.

  • A story needs to be written regarding the proposed cost of care increases facing the Alaska Veterans and Pioneers Homes. My wife, a victim of Alzheimer’s, and I live there. Clinton Lasley, Division Director of the 6 homes in Alaska is proposing the rates be more than doubled.
    An investigation needs to happen.

  • This comment is coming from a progressive. Which of these is not like the others: criticism of antifa, how trans athletes are taking over women’s sports, and the injustice of affirmative action. The answer is the middle one. Read the quite balanced article in the Times 2-3 days ago. This comment is coming from a progressive with an LGBT son. Complex issue requiring sensitive treatment.

  • Me too. You are the best. Funny, serious, philosophical without being pushy. A true, award winning, published Alaska writer. You go girl! Mazel tov.

  • Karen and I thoroughly enjoyed your article about lost (and found) Anchorage this morning. You are a treasure. Thanks!

  • Long time fan, first time commenter.
    Thank you for the pumpkin brioche cinnamon roll recipe.
    Thank you very much.
    Every year, I fall for all the promises of adorable sugar pumpkins. They are the perfect understated fall decor, with a long, albeit not eternal, display window that I inevitability feel compelled to close with an edible, being both thrifty by nature/nurture as well as generally waste-averse.
    However, sweet as they may be, sugar pumpkins have betrayed me on occasion when I have attempted to complete the seasonal circle and use them to make pumpkin pie. Possibly something to do with slightly variable moisture and/or texture factors. More likely something to do with the fact that I don’t bake on the regular enough to intuitively improvise adjustments when it comes to certain aspects of kitchen alchemy.
    Your recipe broke me free from the circle and onto a rectangular plane that I Intend to revisit. And riff off, while smugly justifying a seasonal treat as another vehicle for incorporating an antioxidant superfood into our holidays.

  • Julia

    Your king salmon article in this morning’s New York Times is an excellent but sobering look into the increasingly terrible environmental conundrum for our world and its beings. On the same NYT front page is an article about the latest failed effort to persuade the Chinese government to join in carbon emissions reduction. May the day soon come (and hopefully in time) when you can write about encouraging signs on the various political and environmental fronts. Your Selkregg grandparents and my parents would be so heartbroken that so far that hasn’t happened.

  • Hello Julia
    Your recent article on orca whales/king Salmon is short a bunch of facts.
    First, Southern Resident Orca Whales, in Puget Sound(I live there), have many reasons for their poor health. First, a recent study shows that the Orcas are extremely inbred- most of the breeding is done by 2 males, and really, only one is dominant , in this. Second, while the Calif., Canadien, and Alaskan Orcas are currently doing well, and they eat everything-seals and sea lions as well as Salmon, the Puget Sound Orcas are strictly Chinook Salmon eaters. Their “pickiness” is one their downfalls. You don’t get the sympathy here for their decline that out of state people have. Also, you know that in 2021, the Southern Resident Orcas were only in Puget Sound for 121 days. Hardly residents. Mostly tourists. But, back to salmon. The Puget Sound Salmon have natural predators whose populations are off the charts, charts that can be connected to the salmon drop-off. People won’t tell you these facts but you can look them up. Look up the facts and write another article Julia. Take care

  • Julia, just heard your OPB interview
    and learned a lot! BRAVO for the work you are doing. This planet needs more people like you!
    J Robert in Eugene,

  • Julia,
    I have loved reading your columns and stories since you were a student at East HS. You have a unique ability to describe situations and people’s humanity in very compelling ways. I just finished reading your Opinion column, “You can pass Midtown, but you can’t leave its complicated truths behind” and I was struck by the humanity described. I was especially moved by the man in the wheelchair story. Here in Bellingham, we are seeing many of the same issues. Thank you.

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