Franz’s writing has appeared in publications including The New York Times, Slate, LitHub, Longreads, Fiction Advocate, The Week, VICE, Noisey, Talkhouse, NewMusicBox, Blender, Impose, InDigest, Vol. 1 Brooklyn, and more. He was a contributor to the anthologies It All Changed In An Instant: More Six-Word Memoirs (Harper Perennial); Rock Torch: Volume 1, a collection of musicians recommending other musicians; The Road Most Traveled, a collection of essays about touring life curated by Chuck Ragan; and Waiting To Be Forgotten: Stories of Crime and Heartbreak, Inspired by The Replacements (Gutter Books). He studied writing at Columbia University (where he was awarded a Felipe P. de Alba Fellowship). He was awarded and writing fellowships at the Ucross Foundation and the Edward F. Albee Foundation. 

His first book, The Humorless Ladies of Border Control: Touring the Punk Underground from Belgrade to Ulaanbaatar (The New Press, 2016), was named a “Season’s Best Travel Book” by The New York Times (read press here).

 [Click here for selected links to writing online]

THL cover












Complicated Gardening Techniques



Franz Nicolay’s first collection of stories, Complicated Gardening Techniques, was a six-story chapbook released by Julius Singer Press, an independent Brooklyn imprint. It’s “real things that happened to me and people I know, fake things that might have happened to people you know; loosely fictionalized and highly stylized with handy tips and pithy epigrams.” [BUY]






The Troubadour & The Patron: Music Writing 2007-2011


 A collection of magazine pieces, essays, reviews, and stories about music; including a tale of working as a strolling accordionist at an Italian restaurant in Hoboken and thoughts on musicians as varied as T.V. Smith, Mark Kozelek, and the Carpenters. [BUY]








Work-Rest-Play-Die: Essays on Bob Dylan & the Subhumans


Long form analyses and meditations on late-period Bob Dylan as reflected through Adorno and Edward Said; and a career retrospective of punk heroes Subhumans. [BUY]









Tour Diaries 2007-09


Tour diaries; including stories about the Hold Steady opening for the Rolling Stones, overnight drives over the Slovenia/Croatia border with a drunken Russian rugby team, and much more. [BUY]










‘Good Booty': The Sexual Power of Music,” The New York Times (book review), August 2017

The Rise and Decline of the ‘Sell-out’,” Slate, July 2017 

De-Graded: Music Criticism and Regressive Reading” (op-ed), Watt, July 2017

Was This It?” (book review), Slate, June 2017

On Listening to Jens Lekman in January 2017,” The Talkhouse, February 2017

The Inevitable Institutionalization of Rock,” Watt, December 2016

A Stranger In The World,” Longreads, October 2016

Dispatches From A Punk Tour of the Balkans,” LitHub, 2016

The Hotel Mongolia,” Fiction Advocate, 2016

Editorial: The Fair Play Fair Pay Act and why copyright law needs to change” (Punknews, June 2016)

What You Missed When You Stopped Listening At Prince’s Best-known Albums” (The Week, April 2016)

“Changing The Country, We Apologize For The Inconvenience” (Ukraine Tour Diaries) Part One Part Two Part Three (Noisey/Vice Nov. 2014)

“Dispatches From The Road” Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 (Punknews, Nov. 2012)

“The Humorless Ladies Of Border Patrol” (The Ruckus, Oct. 2012)

“Tales from the Road: Russia & Mongolia” (VICE, Oct. 2012)

“Petty Humiliations In The Life Of An Accordion Player” (InDigest, Nov. 2011)

“The Troubadour & The Patron” (InDigest, May 2011)

“Rock Stars, As Observed In The Wild” (Scratchbomb, Aug. 2011)

“Necessary Enemies: Fear & Failure In Popular Performance” (InDigest, Feb. 2011)

“Little Hobbes In The Big Woods” (InDigest, May 2010)

“Complicated Gardening Techniques” (InDigest, May 2010)

“Love, Death, & Knock-Knock Jokes: Adorno, Said, and Late Style In Dylan” (Spectrum Culture, July 2009)

“Work-Rest-Play-Die: The Subhumans” (Impose, July 2009)

Tour Diary April 2009 Part 1 and Part 2 (Punknews, April 2009)