True Stories, Well Told: From the First 20 Years of Creative Nonfiction Magazine

Overview


Creative nonfiction is the literary equivalent of jazz: it’s a rich mix of flavors, ideas, voices, and techniques—some newly invented, and others as old as writing itself. This collection of 20 gripping, beautifully-written nonfiction narratives is as diverse as the genre Creative Nonfiction magazine has helped popularize. Contributions by Phillip Lopate, Brenda Miller, Carolyn Forche, Toi Derricotte, Lauren Slater and others draw inspiration from everything from healthcare to history, and from monarch ...
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True Stories, Well Told: From the First 20 Years of Creative Nonfiction Magazine

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Overview


Creative nonfiction is the literary equivalent of jazz: it’s a rich mix of flavors, ideas, voices, and techniques—some newly invented, and others as old as writing itself. This collection of 20 gripping, beautifully-written nonfiction narratives is as diverse as the genre Creative Nonfiction magazine has helped popularize. Contributions by Phillip Lopate, Brenda Miller, Carolyn Forche, Toi Derricotte, Lauren Slater and others draw inspiration from everything from healthcare to history, and from monarch butterflies to motherhood. Their stories shed light on how we live.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
06/30/2014
This aptly titled collection pulled from the archives of Creative Nonfiction magazine includes essays on subjects that range from the humorous—Sonya Huber learns to let go of hatred by meditating on an infant Dick Cheney in giraffe pajamas—to the painfully incisive, such as Toi Derricotte’s examination of the behaviors she learned from her abusive father. If the only common thread here is genre, the book raises the question: what is creative nonfiction? “Like pornography, you don’t need a definition,” jokes Susan Orlean in the introduction. Editor Gutkind contributes a history of the genre and recounts founding the magazine in the closing essay. The mission of the magazine and, by extension, this book, is to give readers the “core and fiber of the genre” and thereby define creative nonfiction by example. The contributors, including Caitlyn Horrocks, Carolyn Forché, and Harrison Scott Key, and others, effectively create narrative intimacy. Moments of vulnerability will hit home with readers and bind these disparate essays into an emotionally coherent whole. (Aug.)
From the Publisher

From the Kirkus review

"An engaging anthology of creative nonfiction from the editors at Creative Nonfiction magazine.

"The magazine is now celebrating its 20th birthday, so when founding editor Gutkind . . . and managing editor Fletcher went to pick a handful of wildflowers from this bounty to fashion this collection, they had plenty to choose from. Many of the pieces have an experimental quality in that they catch something elemental from an unexplored angle as they venture onto shaky ground. The spiciest take no pains to disguise the process of getting there: Readers share the sensory information coming in and witness the writer’s brain decoding and shaping the material, all subjective and unlike any other, making their own local color as both participant and observer and changing their way of being in the world. As a style, creative nonfiction has yet to be thoroughly pinned down; it remains simultaneously furtive and dodgy, versatile and as inclusive as a hug from Walt Whitman. Longtime New Yorker contributor Susan Orlean—who better to write the introduction?—makes important suggestions to writers considering creative nonfiction: “Don’t over-prepare. Be willing to jump into stories naked; you’ll listen harder and learn more authentically. On the other hand, do over-report. Follow bits of the story that aren’t quite on topic; you’ll probably find something unexpected and fascinating.” Other contributors include Sonya Huber, Gordon Lish, Toi Derricotte and Louise DeSalvo. In Vanity Fair, James Wolcott declared that creative nonfiction is “a sickly transfusion, whereby the weakling personal voice of sensitive fiction is inserted into the beery carcass of nonfiction.” This anthology proves otherwise.

"Whether inducing tears or raucous laughter, all the pieces are inviting, inquisitive and attentive—and sure to spark plenty of imaginations."

Kirkus Reviews
2014-06-11
An engaging anthology of creative nonfiction from the editors atCreative Nonfictionmagazine.The magazine is now celebrating its 20thbirthday, so when founding editor Gutkind (For the Love of Baseball: A Celebration of the Game that Connects Us All, 2013, etc.) and managing editor Fletcher went to pick a handful of wildflowers from this bounty to fashion this collection, they had plenty to choose from. Many of the pieces have an experimental quality in that they catch something elemental from an unexplored angle as they venture onto shaky ground. The spiciest take no pains to disguise the process of getting there: Readers share the sensory information coming in and witness the writer’s brain decoding and shaping the material, all subjective and unlike any other, making their own local color as both participant and observer and changing their way of being in the world. As a style, creative nonfiction has yet to be thoroughly pinned down; it remains simultaneously furtive and dodgy, versatile and as inclusive as a hug from Walt Whitman. LongtimeNew Yorkercontributor Susan Orlean—who better to write the introduction?—makes important suggestions to writers considering creative nonfiction: “Don’t over-prepare. Be willing to jump into stories naked; you’ll listen harder and learn more authentically. On the other hand, do over-report. Follow bits of the story that aren’t quite on topic; you’ll probably find something unexpected and fascinating.” Other contributors include Sonya Huber, Gordon Lish, Toi Derricotte and Louise DeSalvo. InVanity Fair, James Wolcott declared that creative nonfiction is “a sickly transfusion, whereby the weakling personal voice of sensitive fiction is inserted into the beery carcass of nonfiction.” This anthology proves otherwise.Whether inducing tears or raucous laughter, all the pieces are inviting, inquisitive and attentive—and sure to spark plenty of imaginations.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781937163167
  • Publisher: Fourth Chapter Books
  • Publication date: 8/26/2014
  • Pages: 320
  • Sales rank: 316,005
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author


Lee Gutkind has been exploring the world of medicine through writing for over 20 years. He is the author of Many Sleepless Nights: The World of Organ Transplantation, and the editor of four anthologies about health and medicine: Silence Kills: Speaking Out and Saving Lives; Rage and Reconciliation: Inspiring a Health Care Revolution; Healing; and Becoming a Doctor.

Gutkind is the founder and editor of the magazine Creative Nonfiction, the first and largest literary journal to exclusively publish nonfiction, and has also published the essay collection Forever Fat and two books on writing, The Art of Creative Nonfiction and Keep It Real, among other titles. Currently he teaches creative writing at Arizona State University’s Consortium for Science, Policy, and Outcomes.

Based in Pittsburgh, Hattie Fletcher has been the managing editor of Creative Nonfiction since 2004.

Susan Orlean is the author of The Orchid Thief and Rin Tin Tin and is a staff writer at The New Yorker. She lives in New York City.

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