Nebraska Authors

John Janovy

AKA: John Janovy, Jr.; Jack Blake (pseud.)

Born 1937 Houma, LA (USA)

Janovy is a parasitologist with a strong research interest in parasite ecology. The publication of his Keith County Journal in 1978 made him famous as a writer of best selling natural history of the highest literary quality. His theme in this and several later books was, as he put it, "what you can learn from nature while learning about it." Yellowlegs and Return to Keith County were similar, well received natural histories. Civilization, the magazine of the Library of Congress, described Janovy as the 'literary son of Thoreau.' He helped create a television version of Keith County Journal for ETV in 1984.

Besides heading his own parasitology lab, Janovy would serve as Interim Director of the University of Nebraska State Museum, 1984-86 at a time when the museum faced a crisis of financial support and leadership. He has been the director of the Cedar Point Biological Station outside Ogallala, NE, where he has taught biological field school along with colleague Paul Johnsgard. He has written many books, some under the pseudonym Jack Blake, that explore philosophical issues related to science, teaching and learning.


Places Lived

Lincoln, NE
Houma, LA
Oklahoma City, OK
New Brunswick, NJ

Author Of

  • Fiction
  • Nonfiction


Biology; Nature; Natural History; Science; Essays; Fiction; Philosophy


Bachelor of Science Degree, 1959, University of Oklahoma
Master of Science Degree, 1962, University of Oklahoma
Ph.D., 1965, University of Oklahoma
Postdoctoral Studies, 1965-66, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ


Professor of Biology and Life Studies
Assistant Dean of College of Arts and Sciences

Places Worked

University of Nebraska - Lincoln, Lincoln, NE


John H. Ames Reading Series, Featured Reader, 16 October 1997 and 20 February 2011

Nebraska 150 Books honor for Keith County Journal, 2017
Named to Paula and D.B.Varner Distinguished Professor of Biological Sciences at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln

University of Nebraska Foundation Award for Distinguished Teaching, 1970
Nebraskaland Foundation Pioneers Award for service to the state, 1983
Loren Eiseley Award, Bishop Clarkson School of Nursing, 1986
University Honors Program Master Lecturer, 1986
American Health Magazine Book Award, 1987, Fields of Friendly Strife
Nebraska Literary Heritage Association’s Literary Heritage Award, 1988
University of Nebraska Burlington Northern Faculty Achievement Award, 1990
Paula and D.B. Varner Distinguished Professorship, 1991-2011
Midland Lutheran College Honorary Doctor of Science, 1991
University of Nebraska Outstanding Research and Creativity Award, 1990
Outstanding Research and Creative Activity Award, UNL, 1998
Named a Conservation Hero by The Nature Conservancy, 2001
Mari Sandoz Award, Nebraska Library Association, 2002
Clark P. Read Mentorship Award, 2003
Hartley Burr Alexander Award, Friends of the UNL Libraries, 2000
Louise Pound-George Howard Distinguished Career Award, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, 2013
Distinguished Service Award, American Society of Parasitologists, 2015

Many other academic and literary honors.


Married to Karen Janovy


No attempt is made to list his scientific writing here, a list would run many pages. Books for a general educated audience include:
Keith County Journal. 1978.
Yellowlegs. 1980.
Back in Keith County. 1981.
On Being a Biologist. 1985.
Fields of Friendly Strife. 1987.
Vermilion Sea.
A Naturalist's Journey in Baja California. 1992.
Dunwoody Pond. 1994.
Comes the Millenium. 1996. (under the pseudonym Jack Blake)
10 Minute Ecologist: 20 Answered Questions for Busy People Facing Environmental Issues. 1997.
Interviews With John Janovy 1990. (with Lonnie Pierson)
Who's Infected With Whom. 2000.
Biodiversity: A Primer. 2001. (with co-author Amanda Snyder)
Teaching in Eden: The Cedar Point Lessons. 2003.
Outwitting College Professors: A Practical Guide to the Secrets of the System. 2008.
Pieces of the Plains: Memories and Predictions From the Heart of America. 2009.
The Ginko: An Intellectual and Visionary Coming of Age. 2010.
Outwitting College Professors, 5th edition. 2015.
The Sticher File
The Earthquake Lady
The Weatherford Trial
The Gideon Marshall Mystery Series
Be Careful, Dr. Renner!
Fields of Friendly Strife

Foundations in Parasitology (Co-author)

Janovy has been a pioneer in electronic and self-published texts, these include:
Pieces of the Plains, Kindle.com, 2009
The Ginkgo, Amazon.com, CreateSpace.com, Kindle.com, 2009
Tuskers., Amazon.com, CreateSpace.com, Kindle.com, 2010
Outwitting College Professors,Amazon.com, CreateSpace.com, Kindle.com, 2010

In October 2017 John Janovy, Jr. was one of the authors to read their work in an Ames Reading Series program, which can be viewed at 8 minutes 30 seconds in the video:

Ames Reading series, February 2011:

Ames Reading Series, October 1997:

We appreciate corrections and additions to our information about authors, but please read the following guidelines and caveats carefully.

  • The Nebraska Authors database is based on publicly available sources. Unless you are the author contacting us in person, it helps us if you cite the source or sources of your information. We cannot include unsourced information in the database.
  • We may be appreciative of information we choose not to include in the publicly available database.
  • To include an image on an author profile, please send jpg attachment to nebraskaauthors@lincoln.ne.gov. A photo-release agreement is required before the image will be published on this site.
  • Because of the way we are staffed, expect corrections or additions to take time, sometimes up to three months.
  • While we initially included some actual links to external URLs in the database, we will in the future no longer provide functioning links. We will instead record the presence of specific external materials in language that we hope will help intelligent users find it themselves. Web rot, in which actual materials remain online but undergo changes in their URLs, is too demanding in terms of staff time for us to hope to keep external links current.

Please copy, fill out the form below, and email it to NebraskaAuthors@lincoln.ne.gov to suggest a change.

John Janovy

Do you have corrections for the above information or other information to add?:

(e.g. Author is buried in Fremont, not in David City / Also wrote for the Daily Nebraskan during her time as a student)