Creative Nonfiction

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Creative NonfictionCreative Nonfiction

Creative Nonfiction Fall 2016

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
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4 Issues


access_time5 min.
what’s the story?

There’s a story in every design and a design in every story. PRASAD BORADKAR AND I met almost ten years ago, and we connected right away. Prasad, who is one of this issue’s two consulting editors, is a professor in the school of design at Arizona State University; back then, he was running a program called InnovationSpace, which challenged teams of students to develop products that are sustainable, marketable, and helpful to society. When I asked him how students found their product ideas, Prasad explained, “Well, they create stories.” He went on to say that designers, architects, and engineers don’t make stuff up out of thin air; they formulate stories or case study scenarios about the people who will need the product they are designing, and how and why and when they…

access_time14 min.
an apprentice to the natural world

ADELHEID FISCHER is assistant director of the Biomimicry Center at Arizona State University. She is also a writer who focuses on natural history, ecology, and environmental history. Her work has appeared in Utne Reader, Orion, Conservation, Places, Arizona Highways, and elsewhere. She is the coauthor of Valley of Grass: Tallgrass Prairie and Parkland of the Red River Region, winner of a Minnesota Book Award for Nature Writing. With Minnesota ecologist Chel Anderson, she coauthored North Shore: A Natural History of Minnesota’s Superior Coast. In 2014, she received the Ellen Meloy Desert Writers Award. There is all the difference in the world between looking at something and living with it. In nature, one never really sees a thing for the first time until one has seen it for the fiftieth. It never…

access_time10 min.
the brain is a masterclass

What essays give you is a mind at work.ROBERT ATWAN DAVE MADDEN is the author of If You Need Me I’ll Be Over There and The Authentic Animal: Inside the Odd and Obsessive World of Taxidermy. His shorter work has appeared in Harper’s, the Normal School, Prairie Schooner, the Rumpus, and elsewhere, and he’s received fellowships from the MacDowell Colony, the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, and the Sewanee Writers’ Conference. He teaches in the MFA program at the University of San Francisco. I used to bandy about this quotation as a writer of essays, and as a teacher of them, because for a time I thought it was useful. I thought it pointed to what was most glorious about the essay: its ability to show off some first-rate creative thinking. Then I…

access_time6 min.
nature mothers

VIVIAN WAGNER is an associate professor of English at Muskingum University in New Concord, Ohio. Her work has appeared in Zone 3, the Ilanot Review, Silk Road Review, McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, the Atlantic, and other publications. She’s also the author of a memoir, Fiddle: One Woman, Four Strings, and 8,000 Miles of Music. women nonfiction writers have long had a complex relationship with wilderness. From conceptions of “Mother Nature” in the early environmental movement to contemporary narratives of adventure and self-discovery, women have found nature, at various times, to be a reflection of themselves, an ally, a series of challenges, a place of peril, or a safe haven. Wilderness, in other words, is not a simple thing, and the way it’s perceived depends on the one doing the perceiving, and the time…

access_time19 min.
the view through the crack

YELIZAVETA P. RENFRO is the author ofXylotheque: Essays(University of New Mexico Press, 2014) andA Catalogue of Everything in the World(Black Lawrence Press, 2011). She was a writer-in-residence at Denali National Park and Preserve in July 2015. WINNER Biomimicry Center at ASU Outstanding Essay Prize The disco bus drops us off at Mile 60, where the tundra undulates away from the park road and then buckles up into green hills. There are eight in our group. Everyone but me has spent the better part of three hours on the road; they boarded at the Wilderness Access Center—the Grand Central Station of Denali National Park and Preserve. Our guide, Ranger Ali, is leading a “discovery hike” for a young couple from Pittsburgh, a middle-aged couple from Cincinnati, and two male anglers in their sixties from…

access_time13 min.
into every life some rain must fall

DEBRA GWARTNEY is the author of Live Through This, a memoir, and the co-editor of Home Ground: Language for an American Landscape. She has published in such journals as Tin House, the Normal School, Prairie Schooner, and the American Scholar, and teaches in the MFA program at Pacific University in Oregon. on a warm morning last March, my friend Sally showed me how a post at her gate had been torn up, as if gouged with a screwdriver. Four feet of pressure treated wood, now splintered, that I chipped at with a fingernail. Sally didn’t have to explain what had happened. I knew right away that mountain lions had used the post in the middle of the night to sharpen their claws. Meaning that, only hours earlier, mountain lions, also called…