An emerging voice in creative nonfiction, Guisinger writes about the personal and the political with grace, humor, and pitch-perfect metaphor. Her personal and lyric essays always move me, make me think, and leave me marveling at her craft. Reading Guisinger feels at once like coming home and spending time with a dear friend.
Mura is the rare writer who brings both heart and intellectual heft to his writing in every genre. An accomplished poet, novelist, playwright, scholar, critic, essayist, and memoirist, Mura’s singular work confronts issues such as race, racial identity, politics, culture, and activism. His work cracks me open again and again. Mura has the courage and intellect to see the world as it is, and the vision to imagine how it could be better.
Cultural critic, poet, creative nonfiction writer, and spoken word artist Nikki Patin’s work dislodges me in the best possible way. With her courage, intelligence, unwavering commitment to social justice, and a voice at once vulnerable and fierce, Patin’s work always takes me for a ride that sets me down in a different place from whence I came. She is a writer who makes me laugh, cry, and cheer, often in the space of a page.
Visual artist, raconteur, mental health maven, and cross-genre writer Nina Gaby does a dizzying number of projects well. Her work makes me laugh until my stomach hurts and cry when I least expect it. Gaby’s writing is as diverse as her interests; she is just as adept tackling political, social, and clinical issues related to addiction and mental health, as she is writing about feminism, or exposing the absurd cruelty of small-town life.
Samantha Irby is that friend you don’t want to take home to polite company, but at the same time, you totally do. You never know what she will say, but you always know it will be fearless, raw, and hilarious.
Educator, editor, and essayist William Bradley writes about the personal and political with a voice at once moral and irreverent, silly and elegant, understated and bold. This tension in his work renders a mind alive on the page, a mind I always delight in, learn from, and admire.
Fiction writer Cristina Perachio is one to watch. She writes with a capital-V Voice, calling to mind the crackling prose of Denis Johnson and Mary Karr.
Harrison Scott Key
Professor, memoirist, and essayist Harrison Scott Key writes with the scenic instincts and comedic timing of David Sedaris, yet Scott Key also writes with incredible depth and insight.
Poet Amanda Johnston writes work that engages, alarms, and raises the fine hairs on my body. She reminds me of Kafka’s plea for literature that acts as “an ice axe to break the sea frozen inside us.”
Chelsea Biondolillo is a writer whose attention and delight in her own subjects are so intoxicating that they remind the reader of his/ her own (perhaps lapsed) passions. Smart, talented, and endlessly-curious, I can’t wait to see what Biondolillo will do next.
Award-winning poet Katie Bickham is so talented that you really want to hate her, but you just can’t. She and her work are lovely, vital, and utterly arresting.
Mary Heather Noble
Environmental writer and lyric and personal essayist Mary Heather Noble’s recent Sustainability Essay Prize from Creative Nonfiction confirms what those of us who have been following Noble’s career with interest have known for years: this is a writer with serious chops.
Pithead Chapel, “an online journal of gutsy narratives,” is a young, independent journal that publishes emerging and established voices in all genres.
Irreverent, but not snarky, eclectic and wide-ranging, The Rumpus is my favorite stop for online literary news, ephemera, killer writing, and other oddities.
This journal out of the University of Memphis MFA publishes solid, interesting creative nonfiction (and other genres) in every issue. The art is always fabulous too.
The gold standard for flash nonfiction journals.
A CNF journal that publishes the best of a wide-range of forms.
Another CNF journal that publishes the best of a wide-range of forms, as well as some of the finest voices in the genre.
They call themselves the “Southern magazine of good writing,” but I think they’re more like terrific.
The Normal School
A treasure of quirky, innovative, and downright fun literary work out of California State University at Fresno. Also, the magazine is always gorgeous.
Literary organizations that support women and writers of color