Creative Nonfiction

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Creative NonfictionCreative Nonfiction

Creative Nonfiction Spring 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_time4 min.
what’s the story?

These days, we’re free—for better or for worse, as the traditional ceremony puts it—to pick and choose rather than relying on tradition. AS YOU MIGHT KNOW, it takes a long time to make an issue of Creative Nonfiction— a little more than eighteen months, starting with putting out the call for submissions and progressing through reading the stories, editing, fact-checking, and so on. I believe we first came up with the idea of a “marriage” issue late in 2014, not long after the weddings of two of our longtime staff members: Stephen Knezovich, our marketing director, and Anjali Sachdeva, our director of educational programming. As is the fashion these days—and maybe also related to their experiences working for our small nonprofit—both Stephen and Anjali put together fairly DIY, individualized weddings. Anjali made…

access_time17 min.
required reading

Marriage: A Story We Tell Ourselves and Others RANDON BILLINGS NOBLE RANDON BILLINGS NOBLE is an essayist. Her work has appeared in the Modern Love column of the New York Times, the Georgia Review, the Rumpus, Brevity, Fourth Genre, and elsewhere. She is a nonfiction editor at r.kv.r.y quarterly, Reviews Editor at Tinderbox Poetry Journal, and a reviewer for the A.V. Club. HERE IS ONE STORY I tell about marriage: for a long time, I thought I’d never get married. In high school, I made snarky plans for a joke wedding. I picked the most hideous prom dresses from Seventeen for my bridesmaids and decided my reception dinner would be a pile of Happy Meals, topped off with a Carvel Fudgie the Whale cake. In college, I wanted to be Frida Kahlo to…

access_time2 min.
divorce memoirs

Good Riddance: An Illustrated Memoir of Divorce CYNTHIA COPELAND (Abrams ComicArts, 2013) This graphic memoir about divorce, dating, and single parenthood is at once humorous and heartbreaking. In an early scene, for instance, the narrator says that “it was an ordinary day” when she discovered her husband was cheating on her. The accompanying illustration shows the narrator standing by an electronic control board: “[N]othing on the radar screen.” Copeland’s endearing sense of humor pulls the reader through what could otherwise simply be a harrowing tale of grief and loss. Aftermath: On Marriage and Separation RACHEL CUSK (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2012) This memoir focuses on the period of separation preceding Cusk’s divorce, and intersperses the personal narrative with stories from Greek tragedies. Leaving Before the Rains Come ALEXANDRA FULLER (Penguin, 2015) This powerful and unique story about divorce,…

access_time7 min.
the math of marriage

WINNER! Best Essay Prize ELANE JOHNSON’s nonfiction has been anthologized, featured in college creative writing curricula across the United States and internationally, and published in Brevity, Hippocampus, Superstition Review, Sonora Review, the Indianapolis Star, and Current, among other publications. Elane, who is represented by Veronica Park of Corvisiero Literary Agency, holds an MFA (with distinction) in creative nonfiction and teaches graduate-level creative writing for Southern New Hampshire University online. YOU ARE WALKING down that plushly carpeted aisle for the first time, your satin heels sinking into the rug so that you wobble a little on your daddy’s arm, and you see through the mosquito netting of your veil the pewter pipes of the organ, flat against the back wall like a display of rifles in a gun rack, and the looming, gilded cross…

access_time17 min.

HEATHER OSTERMAN-DAVIS lives with her family in New York City, where she attempts to balance creative and domestic endeavors. Her work has been part of Salon, Literary Mama, “Listen To Your Mother,” and Agave Magazine. She’s currently working on a full-length memoir. THE MONTH BEFORE OUR WEDDING, Mitch and I headed down to Office of the City Clerk to apply for our marriage license. The gleaming marble floors in the newly renovated lobby vibrated with tradition and propriety, inspiring awe and humility. The soft echo of the room seemed to send our footsteps back, whispering, “You won’t get away with this.” I tried to shake it off; after all, it was a big moment. I grabbed Mitch’s hand and whispered, “Babe, this is it. We’re getting married.” He smiled back in…

access_time19 min.
the marrying kind

JANE BERNSTEIN is the author of five books, among them the memoirs Bereft: A Sister’s Story, and Rachel in the World. She is also an essayist, a lapsed screenwriter, and a member of the Creative Writing program at Carnegie Mellon University. THESE DAYS, IT’S COMMON for couples to get married by a layperson with credentials bought online. But in 2003, the first time I was asked to officiate, so few people knew this was an option that whenever I mentioned it, I got a bug-eyed look and a lot of questions. You can do that? You can just be a minister? You, who didn’t attend divinity school, they meant. You, who had a bat mitzvah. Is that even legal? I got all these questions because I couldn’t stop talking about my role in the…