Dinah Lenney

Dinah grew up on the East Coast, outside Boston and New York City, and graduated from a small public high school just north of Manhattan. She earned her Bachelor’s at Yale and a Certificate of Acting from the Neighborhood Playhouse School, eventually moving to Los Angeles where, among other roles, she landed the long-recurring part of Nurse Shirley on NBC’s critically acclaimed series, ER. Dinah’s continued to work on stage, in film, and on television, playing a wide range of roles in theatre and musical theatre, and guest-starring on series too many to mention, among them Law and Order, Without a Trace, The Sarah Connor Chronicles, and Sons of Anarchy.

She’s taught in acting programs at Universities all over the country, and is the co-author, with Mary Lou Belli, of Acting for Young Actors (Random House). Dinah’s memoir, Bigger than Life, was published in the American Lives Series at the University of Nebraska Press, and excerpted for the “Lives” column in The New York Times Sunday Magazine. Her memoir-in-essays, The Object Parade, was published by Counterpoint Press, and she co-edited Brief Encounters: A Collection of Contemporary Nonfiction for W. W. Norton with the late Judith Kitchen. An editor-at-large at the Los Angeles Review of Books, Dinah also serves as core faculty for the Bennington Writing Seminars (where she took an MFA in Creative Nonfiction in 2003). She’s written essays and reviews for literary journals, anthologies, and newspapers, print and online, and was especially mentioned in the Pushcart Anthology XXXIV and in Best American Essays 2017.

She’s working on a book about coffee for Bloomsbury’s Object Lessons Series, and she lives with her husband in Echo Park, close enough to Dodger Stadium to hear the roar of the crowd. 


The Lyncher in Me, by Warren Read: Book review

Assisted Living, By Bob Morris: Book Review

Closing Time, by Joe Queenan: Book Review

Nothing Was the Same, by Kay Redfield Jamison: Book Review

Ghost in the Dream

The House With the Gate

LA’s Area Code Obsession

The Graduate, Hovering

The Latest Draft

Consider the Prompt

‘ER’ And the End of Nurse Shirley

Off the Shelf: How I Inhabit the Earth

Life Skills, LAUSD Style

The Graduate, Hovering

The Fires, Book Review



To De-bag or Not