John Schlimm is a Harvard-trained educator, activist, artist, businessman, and award-winning author of seventeen books on inspiration, cooking/entertaining, activism, history, how-to, and fiction. His newest book is a memoir titled FIVE YEARS IN HEAVEN: The Unlikely Friendship That Answered Life’s Greatest Questions. It details John’s five-year friendship with an 87-year-old nun and artist named Sister Augustine, who changed his life forever.
Five Years in Heaven was recently honored as a recipient of the 2016 Christopher Award in the “Books for Adults” category. Past recipients include President Jimmy Carter; historian David McCullough; Special Olympics International Chairman Timothy Shriver; New York Times bestselling author Laura Hillenbrand; Rwandan author Immaculee Ilibagiza; Sister Helen Prejean; humanitarian Mark Kennedy Shriver; and many more. The Christopher Awards, created in 1949, honor books for adults and young people, creators of TV/cable programming, and feature films that affirm the highest values of the human spirit.
John’s appearances have been heralded by audiences of all ages. He has traveled the country speaking about inspirational/motivational topics, cooking, entertaining, and public relations, and has appeared on such national media outlets as The Ellen DeGeneres Show, Bravo’s Watch What Happens Live, NPR, Martha Stewart Living’s Everyday Food, The Splendid Table, QVC, cable’s number one morning show Fox & Friends, and as an “Architect of Change” writing for MariaShriver.com and Huffington Post. John has done two cross country book tours with Caesars Entertainment, as well as speeches and emceeing at VegFests across the country, including his keynote address titled “Embrace Compassion, Change the World” to the Congressional Vegetarian Staff Association on Capitol Hill and his rousing Commencement Address to the Class of 2012 titled “The Road to YES is Paved with Many NO’s.”
In 2014, John debuted a series of paintings, participatory art pieces, and mixed-media pieces collectively titled The Book of Compassion. Within the series is his flagship 34 COMPASSION Paintings, which Our Hen House called “reminiscent of the work of Andy Warhol,” as well as such participatory art pieces as Planting Compassion and THE SMILE THAT CHANGED THE WORLD (is yours).
THE SMILE THAT CHANGED THE WORLD (is yours) debuted with installations in Canada and Washington, D.C. On June 5, 2016, THE SMILE installation will open at The Westmoreland Museum of American Art, and be on view through July 3 in the Robertshaw Gallery as a special exhibition that relates to the Museum’s portrait collection. Visitors to the Museum are invited to add their smiles to the canvas during this time.
In August 2014, John’s new cookbook The Ultimate Beer Lover’s Happy Hour: Over 325 Recipes for Your Favorite Bar Snacks & Beer Cocktails was released. It features delicious bar bites – from Sizzling Sriracha Peanuts to Taproom Tacos to Blitzed Bean Soup – and beer cocktails, chuggers, shots, shooters, chasers, punches, floats, and shakes, with nearly 1,000 related pairing suggestions using today’s most popular craft and seasonal beer styles.
During the fall of 2013, John released two books, The Cheesy Vegan and Stand Up!: 75 Young Activists Who Rock the World, And How You Can, Too!
In The Cheesy Vegan: More Than 125 Plant-Based Recipes for Indulging in the World’s Ultimate Comfort Food, John brings vegan cheese home to Main Street for everyone to enjoy! From breakfast to lunch to a hearty dinner with family and friends, he gives readers easy recipes to cover every cheesy craving, along with an extensive chart pairing vegan cheese with wine, beer, and cocktails.
In Stand Up!: 75 Young Activists Who Rock the World, And How You Can, Too!, John created a generation-defining call to action and collection of stories by 75 of the world’s most dynamic young activists, some of whom started their efforts as early as three years old and many have founded their own nonprofit organizations. Today, through their grassroots movements and international work, they are bringing their own brand of savvy compassion and unstoppable courage to the crossroads of social entrepreneurship and activism. John also wrote the companion eBook, Stand Up! Discussion Guide, for teachers, students, parents, community groups, book clubs, and others. In 2014, Stand Up! won a Nautilus Book Award for Young Adult Non-Fiction and was also honored with one of Foreword Reviews’ INDIEFAB Book of the Year Awards for Young Adult Non-Fiction.
John’s second vegan cookbook was 2013’s Grilling Vegan Style: 125 Fired-Up Recipes to Turn Every Bite into a Backyard BBQ. A comprehensive vegan grilling handbook and cookbook, Grilling Vegan Style serves up backyard cooking and entertaining like never before, once more proving John’s point that eating vegan style does not have to be boring or tasteless.
In the fall of 2012, John’s first vegan cookbook, The Tipsy Vegan: 75 Boozy Recipes to Turn Every Bite into Happy Hour, was released to critical acclaim. In this hip cookbook, John smashes through vegan stereotypes and breaks new ground once again by showcasing a collection of plant-based recipes using favorites from the bar circuit–wine, beer, vodka, etc.–as key ingredients.
In the summer of 2011, John expanded into yet another literary genre, releasing his debut novel, Twang, to rave reviews as a limited-time e-Book exclusive worldwide. A former Country Music publicist, John peels back the industry-crafted cliché of Nashville and its beloved superstars as he follows a special group of fictionalized Country Music singers and their entourages through one unforgettable year in their lives. He takes readers backstage of the sold-out concerts, inside the homes and heads of Nashville’s elite, and introduces them to a side of show business that has yet to be revealed.
In 2010, John wrote The Seven Stars Cookbook: Recipes from World-Class Casino Restaurants, a coffee table-style book that he created in conjunction with Caesars Entertainment, the world’s largest gaming company. With a Foreword by culinary icon Paula Deen and more than 125 recipes from some of the top casino-restaurant chefs in the country as well as such celebrity chefs as Bobby Flay, John Besh, Bradley Ogden, Francois Payard, Paul Prudhomme, and Guy Savoy, The Seven Stars Cookbook is a high-end tour de force that brings the luxury and glamour of Caesars Entertainment’s casinos and restaurants across the country into each reader’s own kitchen and parties. That same year, the book was named one of the best cookbooks in the U.S. by the Gourmand Awards.
A member of one the oldest and most historic brewing families in the U.S., John currently sits on the Board of Directors at Straub Brewery, Inc. His now classic and voluminous ode to beer and food, The Ultimate Beer Lover’s Cookbook: More Than 400 Recipes That All Use Beer, was released in 2008. In 2009, the book was awarded both “Best Beer Book in the U.S.” and “Best Beer Book in the World” by the international Gourmand Awards. The largest beer cookbook ever published, The Ultimate Beer Lover’s Cookbook has garnered critical acclaim from the media and readers across the country. Also in 2009, The Beer Lover’s Cookbook: More Than 300 Recipes That All Use Beer was released as a travel-friendly, paperback adaptation of The Ultimate Beer Lover’s Cookbook.
In 2005, John chronicled his family’s award-winning, Pennsylvania landmark company, Straub Brewery, Inc., which was founded in the 1870’s by his Great-Great-Grandfather Peter Straub, in a pictorial history titled Straub Brewery. Prior to this, John wrote two other popular Straub Beer-related books, The Straub Beer Cookbook and The Straub Beer Party Drinks Handbook.
Also in 2005, John released The Pennsylvania Celebrities Cookbook, which is an unprecedented collection of recipes contributed by celebrities who were either born in the Keystone State or who in someway impacted the state. Proceeds from the cookbook benefitted women’s health initiatives.
John’s first book, Corresponding With History: The Art & Benefits of Collecting Autographs, written the year after he graduated from college, is part memoir, part pop culture time capsule, and part how-to as it chronicles his impressive autograph collection that today numbers more than 4,000 pieces. For more than a decade, John also parlayed his collection into the popular, monthly “Book Collector” column in Autograph magazine.
During his early career, John served in the Vice Presidential Communications Office at The White House where he worked with Second Lady Tipper Gore as well as having worked in production and scriptwriting for the national radio series Enterprising Women, fundraising for various national and local non-profits, and as a celebrity publicist at FrontPage Publicity in Nashville.
In 2003, John joined the faculty at the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford as an adjunct professor in the Communication Arts Department where he was also the host of the radio program Campus Crossfire for five seasons. During the 2006/2007 school year, he served as the Visiting Assistant Professor for Broadcast Communications.
John has also been a promotional writer for various entities, including Caesars Entertainment, the country’s preeminent literary PR firm, and a leading publisher, where he has written on behalf of Hollywood and literary superstars as well as some of the country’s most respected brand names. John’s articles and writings have also appeared in various anthologies (including the Chicken Soup for the Soul and Not Your Mother’s Book… series), magazines, newspapers, and online news sources.
John’s ongoing community-based efforts as an award-winning activist and advocate include serving as a 20+ year advocate for fitness and healthy lifestyle choices and the Arts through his work on the Board of Directors for Citizens Against Physical, Sexual & Emotional Abuse, co-directing the award-winning TEAM STRAUB (an adjunct fundraising arm of Straub Brewery, Inc.), his work with the American Cancer Society (John was named Best New Volunteer in 2006 for his efforts on behalf of Relay for Life and his team, TEAM STRAUB, was honored with the Mission Possible Award), working as an American Red Cross-certified swimming instructor for more than twenty years, volunteering at the Elk County Humane Society, and moderating the Blood, Guts, & Glory Lecture Series on the media, pop culture, politics, and other topics. John was honored with the Elk County Council on the Arts 2013 “Heart in the Arts” award for his support of the Arts.
For more than twenty years, John has honed his talents as a visual artist, working in a variety of different mediums from wood, canvas, and acrylics to marker, paper, photography, and video. To date, John has utilized most of his work as donations for various charity functions. The first piece of John’s artwork to ever be sold was auctioned-off following 9/11 at a 2001 event in TriBeCa to benefit The Twin Towers Orphan Fund. Since then, his pieces have helped raise money for a variety of causes.
John graduated Summa Cum Laude from Marymount University with a B.A. in Communications & Public Relations and a minor in Studio Arts, earned his dual Secondary Education Certifications in English and Speech Communications at the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford, and completed his Master’s Degree in Education at Harvard University.