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The Short(ish):

Shari Dragovich is a freelance writer living in Roanoke, Virginia. Her work has appeared in regional magazines throughout the Southeast. Shari is the dining writer for The Roanoker Magazine. She is currently partnered with Mercer University Press to write a book on Roanoke’s iconic restaurant, Texas Tavern, as part of their Food and the American South series, to be released in the summer of 2020. Shari is pursuing a degree in the Masters of Arts in Liberal Studies program, at Hollins University. When not writing on assignment, Shari enjoys exploring the art of fiction and creative essay, and writing on her blog about the ordinary things of life she thinks are not so ordinary after all. She also teaches on writing and the writing life at conferences both local and across the country. If not writing, Shari is probably at one of her kids’ sporting events with a book in her hand; most likely something written by Wendell Berry. Or, she’s indulging in one of her favorites: all things story, all things community, and all things wine. Shari, along with her husband and five teenaged kids, think it a beautiful gift to call Roanoke home.


The Whole Darn Story:

While Southwest Virginia is where Shari now calls home, it is not where she was born and raised. Shari grew up on a hog and crop farm in South-central Illinois. This was a point of contention for her as a child, but a life she now proudly claims as an adult. Shari comes from generational farming stock. Her great-grandparents’ farm (located about a mile from her own family’s farm) was celebrated during the Great Depression for its waste-not-want-not stewardship mentality. Her grandfather built the home and farm where she was raised, shortly after World War II. His focus was conservation and growing a network of local agricultural cooperatives. Back then, it was a chicken farm. This is why, when her father left his job with the Illinois Forestry Department in 1978 to stake his claim in the generational farming, he turned to hogs as his livestock of choice. He also grew and harvested corn, soybeans, and wheat.

Shari grew up blissfully unaware that her parents were struggling to establish their family through the Farm Crisis of the 1980s. In fact, Shari grew up blissfully unaware of many of life’s rough edges—other than being mercilessly teased for being a hog farmer’s daughter. Looking back, she thinks this a small price to pay for a life of open spaces, country roads, barn cats, and a dinner table laden with the good stuff grown right under her nose.

In 1997, Shari married her high school sweetheart, Anthony Dragovich. Tony grew up a ‘townie’; something Shari has tried to not hold against him through their two-plus decades of marriage. Together, they made map dots across the country as Tony trained and served in the U.S. Army as an anesthesiologist. Through her husband’s fourteen-year military career, the Dragoviches have called Washington, Texas, Washington D.C., and North Carolina home. Just to keep things exciting, they added five children to their family—three by birth and two through adoption–at the worst possible times; either right before or soon after a big move or deployment.

In 2010, Shari began inching her way back into writing—a love she’d let lay dormant since her high school days. She started submitting articles to publications across the Sandhills region of North Carolina. She wrote consistently for regional publications until her family’s move to Roanoke in 2013, where her husband began the civilian half of his career as a pain management specialist. By 2014, all five Team Dragovich kids had entered the great halls of institutionalized education. After ten years of homeschooling (34 years if you add all five kids collectively), Shari delved into her writing career with new vigor.

Since moving to Roanoke, Shari has enjoyed a vibrant writing life. She’s discovered an unexpected passion for writing about foodways, and recovered her love for wondering about the connections between unexpected things. In 2017, Shari was selected as Roanoke’s Writer by Bus, where she explored the intersection of community and transportation through creative essay. She is honored to be working with Mercer University Press to bring to life the story of the Texas Tavern, her town’s iconic four generations-strong restaurant, as part of MUP’s Food and the American South series. Shari also teaches at writing conferences both locally and across the country.

Shari sees her Midwestern farming roots as formidable in shaping her understanding of her surroundings and the subject matter of her writings. She believes in being a good steward of the place and people where she lives—whether it’s the farmlands of the Midwest, the suburbs of the city, or the mountains of Southwest Virginia. She is also unwavering in her belief that what is eternally good, true and beautiful is most often found in the most ordinary stuff of life.

Shari, along with her husband and five teenaged kids, think it a beautiful gift to call Roanoke home.


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