Creating Nonfiction

Twenty Essays and Interviews with the Writers

Edited by Jen Hirt & Erin Murphy

Subjects: Memoir, Autobigraphy, Composition And Rhetoric Studies
Series: Excelsior Editions
Imprint: Excelsior Editions
Paperback : 9781438461168, 254 pages, May 2016
Hardcover : 9781438461151, 254 pages, May 2016

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Table of contents


1. “Kestrel Avenue” by Cheryl Strayed
Interview with Cheryl Strayed

2. “Free to Good Home” by Lori Jakiela
Interview with Lori Jakiela

3. “Tooth and Claw” by Dinty W. Moore
Interview with Dinty W. Moore

4. “The Collection” by Mary Quade
Interview with Mary Quade

5. “Footnotes & Endnotes” by Michael Martone
Interview with Michael Martone

6. “How to Cure a Fright” by Kelle Groom
Interview with Kelle Groom

7. “The City of the Century” by Kristen Radtke
Interview with Kristen Radtke

8. “Apocalypse, Darling” by Barrie Jean Borich
Interview with Barrie Jean Borich

9. “Birth Geographic” by Aimee Nezhukumatathil
Interview with Aimee Nezhukumatathil

10. “How to Give a Baby a Bath” by Marcia Aldrich
Interview with Marcia Aldrich

11. “Seven Fathoms Down” by Steven Church
Interview with Steven Church

12. “Slow Burn” by Erin Murphy
Interview with Erin Murphy

13. “Gunslinging” by Angela Morales
Interview with Angela Morales

14. “The Third Step” by Sheryl St. Germain
Interview with Sheryl St. Germain

15. “My Wobbly Bicycle, 29” by Fleda Brown
Interview with Fleda Brown

16. “Students of the Route” by Jen Hirt
Interview with Jen Hirt

17. “Terremoto” by Toby Thompson
Interview with Toby Thompson

18. “Of Ships and Men” by Cameron Conaway
Interview with Cameron Conaway

19. “How to Make Sense of the Postcolonial Nation-State: A Definition Essay Using Material Lifted Almost Entirely from the Internet as Annotated by the Author, Herself a Nigerian American” by Faith Adiele
Interview with Faith Adiele

20. “YouTube’s Winged Chariot: On Time, Memory, and Internet Video” by Jeffrey Hammond
Interview with Jeffrey Hammond


A diverse collection of essays and companion interviews that offer insight into the inspiration, drafting, and revision process.


Gold Winner for Anthologies, 2016 Foreword INDIES Book of the Year Awards

With a title that suggests both the genre and the process of composing it, Creating Nonfiction is a collection of essays and interviews that aims to open readers' and writers' eyes to the formal possibilities of creative nonfiction. Included are memoirs, personal essays, literary journalism, graphic essays, and lyric essays, and the content is equally diverse, with topics ranging from childbirth to child labor, from dandelions to domestic violence.

Whereas most anthologies leave readers to speculate about the evolution of each contribution, Creating Nonfiction provides companion interviews that offer insight into the inspiration, drafting, and revision process that produced the essays. Cheryl Strayed talks about how working as a reporter for her hometown newspaper influenced her later writings. Dinty W. Moore reflects on the delicate balance between observation and judgment when writing about subjects whose values differ from your own. Kristen Radtke explains how she decides between textual and visual images when creating a graphic essay. Although they offer an eclectic mix of voices and styles, what these essays all have in common is that ultimately, as contributor Faith Adiele observes, "truth becomes art. "

Jen Hirt is Assistant Professor of Creative Writing and Composition at Penn State Harrisburg. She is the author of the memoir Under Glass: The Girl with a Thousand Christmas Trees. Erin Murphy is Professor of English at Penn State Altoona. She is the author of six books of poetry, including Ancilla and coeditor (with Todd Davis) of Making Poems: Forty Poems with Commentary by the Poets, also published by SUNY Press.


". ..offers new opportunities to consider the way we hold conversations with our experiences and with our readers. " — BREVITY's Nonfiction Blog

"Read Creating Nonfiction … to savor the essays or to absorb methods and motivations from award winning and widely published writers. You might even create your own absolutely original essay style. " — New Pages

". informative, insightful, thoughtful and thought-provoking read throughout and very highly recommended. " — Midwest Book Review

"The selections in Creating Nonfiction are fresh, diverse, and inspiring. " — Lisa Knopp, author of What the River Carries: Encounters with the Mississippi, Missouri, and Platte

"An excellent collection of essays by some of our best contemporary essayists. " — Ned Stuckey-French, coauthor of Writing Fiction: A Guide to Narrative Craft, Ninth Edition