Creative Nonfiction Fall 2017

Creative Nonfiction is the voice of the genre. Every issue includes long-form essays blending style with substance; writing that pushes the genre’s boundaries; commentary and notes on craft; conversations with writers; and more. Simply put, Creative Nonfiction demonstrates the depth and versatility of the genre it helped define.

United States
Creative Nonfiction
USD 7.50
USD 25
4 Números

en este número

5 min.
what’s the story?

The intersections of these two ways of understanding the world are rarely examined—and when they are, the primary narrative is one of conflict. I KNOW THAT EXPLORING the harmonies between science and religion is not the kind of subject your average literary magazine might focus on for an entire issue— and maybe that is why I am particularly excited about this issue of Creative Nonfiction. Longtime readers may remember our 2014 “Telling Stories that Matter” issue, which featured essays coauthored by science-policy scholars and creative writers. That issue grew out of an innovative program called Think Write Publish (TWP) in which science-policy scholars and creative nonfiction writers worked together to write collaborative essays that turned the scholars’ research into creative nonfiction. In the process, the scholars taught the writers about the complicated…

1 min.
about the illustrations

ILENE WINN-LEDERER writes and illustrates books published under her imprint, Imaginarius Editions, including An Illumination of Blessings in 2014; a collection of annotated illustrations based on personal travel journals, Notes from London: Above & Below, in 2015; and Bestiary: An Imaginary Menagerie, published last year. Ilene’s unique drawings and paintings are included in public and private collections throughout the United States and Europe, and her clients have included the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, Hadassah Magazine, New York, Lilith, Cricket, Children’s Television Workshop, Scholastic, Charlesbridge Publishers, and Simon & Schuster. Her website,, showcases her books, original works, and custom giclée prints; she also offers twenty unique lines of custom-designed products based on her illustrations at Society6. She is a member of the Pittsburgh Society of Illustrators.…

14 min.
contagious empathy

OUR FACES ARE BURIED, and I don’t mean in the sand. They’re snuggled into our machines these days as we scroll and click and finger type away. We travel into virtual lands, disconnecting from the three-dimensional one around us. I worry that we’re no longer able to walk in this world and communicate with each other one-on-one. I worry that we no longer understand how to be alone. And being alone and lonely and bored is important to us as creative people. Henry David Thoreau wrote: “How vain it is to sit down to write when you have not stood up to live!” (Of course, he had his mother do his laundry for him while living on Walden Pond, so we have to take the simplicity of his enthusiasm with a…

11 min.
this essentially meaningless conflict

MARILYNNE ROBINSON’S accomplishments are impressive by any standard: she has won the National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction, the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, and the National Humanities Medal, among other honors. But perhaps a better measure of her eminence as a writer and thinker for our times is this: When the New York Review of Books ran an extended interview with Robinson in November 2015, her interviewer was … President Obama. Robinson’s fiction and essays display a combination of fierce intelligence and profound human empathy. Her four novels are at once gorgeous, revelatory, and lapidary; her essays, ruthlessly clear and often deeply challenging. At the heart of her work is her Christianity, and from there she explores everything from the prospects for democracy to the role and limits of science…

9 min.
absolute mystery

I HEAR THE WORD, of course. I go to Mass some Sundays, listen to Al Green’s Greatest Gospel Hits, and have lived in or near the Bible Belt for the better part of the past decade. Even still, the word God has never quite fitted itself to my ears. And when I’m called upon to say it, I get shifty-eyed and spastic. I smile hard and mutter other words— spirit or goodness—anything but the word God, which sits like a fistful of rubber bands in my mouth. God bless you, people say, and unless I’ve sneezed, I’m at a loss. I visited my friend Mary this summer. A ninety-six-year-old church lady adorned with more medals of the saints than I can count, Mary’s been an ardent and unlikely guide as I’ve…

23 min.
beyond the primordial ooze: “real” americans and the supposed divide between science and religion

JEFF, JOHN ELDON, DAVE, BEN, AND BRUCE meet most weekdays around the back table at the only McDonald’s in Ravenswood, West Virginia, chomping sausage McGriddles and swapping theories about why “it has all gone to hell.” One reason, they tell me, is because the aluminum plant south of town has shrunk from 12,000 to fewer than 1,000 employees, and another is that “people nowadays simply have no common sense.” The men offer a variety of examples, focusing on out-of-town visitors who can’t drive, don’t think, and huddle mindlessly, blocking the fast food eatery’s back entrance. The six of them are retired, having once earned their livings as electricians, aluminum smelters, mechanical engineers, and dairy farmers. They seem inordinately proud of the fact that Ravenswood is said to have once had more…