21st Century Essays
Edited by David Lazar and Patrick Madden

New & Forthcoming 21st Century Essays Titles:

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Curiouser and Curiouser

Nicholas Delbanco

Pub date: July 28, 2017
184 pp. 5.5 x 8.5
$19.95 Paper

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You, Me, and the Violence

Catherine Taylor

EXPECTED Pub date: September, 2017
166 pp. 5.5 x 8.5
$19.95 Paper

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A Mother's Tale

Phillip Lopate

Pub date: January 12, 2017
196 pp. 6 x 9
$24.95 Hardcover

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Don't Come Back

Lina María Ferreira Cabeza-Vanegas

Pub date: January 13, 2017
277 pp. 6 x 9
38 b&w photographs
$22.95 Paperback


Gournay Prize WinnerWe are pleased to announce that we have selected Kisha Lewellyn Schlegel’s Fear Icons as the winner of our inaugural Gournay Prize. As recipient of the prize, Schlegel receives $1,000 and Fear Icons will be published in the 21st Century Essays series in Fall 2018. Schlegel has published essays in The Kenyon Review, Conjunctions, the Seneca Review, and the anthology Marry a Monster. A recipient of the Richard J. Margolis Award and a Washington State Grant for Artist Projects, Kisha was most recently awarded a writing residency at the Bloedel Reserve. She is a graduate of the University of Montana’s Environmental Studies Program and the University of Iowa's Nonfiction Writing Program. She now teaches creative writing at Whitman College and is the 2017 Distinguished Visiting Writer at Cornell College. Read more about Kisha here.

Paul Crenshaw’s manuscript, Storm Country, has been chosen as runner up for the prize and will also be published in the series. Crenshaw’s work has appeared or is forthcoming in Best American Essays, Best American Nonrequired Reading, The Pushcart Prize, anthologies by W.W. Norton and Houghton Mifflin, Oxford American, Glimmer Train, Ecotone, North American Review and Brevity, among others.

“Who are we to each other when we’re afraid?” Kisha Lewellyn Schlegel asks in her moving and original debut essay collection, Fear Icons. Her answer is a lyric examination of the icons that summon and soothe our fears. From Donald Trump to the Virgin Mary, Darth Vader to the Dalai Lama, Schlegel turns cultural criticism personal with bracing intelligence and vulnerability. Each essay is woven through with other voices—Baldwin, Auden, Du Bois, Cixous—positioning Schlegel's arguments and meditations within a diverse and dynamic literary lineage. Fear Icons is a vital and timely inquiry into the complex relationship between love and fear—and the ways that each intensifies the other.

“Kisha Schlegel's brilliant debut illuminates some of our most hardened cultural icons and the fears that they induce. This is a bold new literary voice of fierce intelligence, vulnerability, and empathy.” —John D’Agata, author of Halls of Fame, About a Mountain, and The Lifespan of a Fact

Fear Icons is a weighty, urgent, and timely book. And it is, un-ironically, fearless amidst fear, as it sets out to place the author's delicate observations against the stark and charged backdrop of a species forever at conflict with itself.”—Lina María Ferreira Cabeza-Vanegas, Rona Jaffe Award Winner and author of Don’t Come Back

A new series from The Ohio State University Press, 21st Century Essays is a vehicle to discover, publish, and promote some of the most daring, ingenious, and artistic new nonfiction. This is the first and only major series that announces its focus on the essay, a genre whose plasticity, timelessness, popularity, and centrality to nonfiction writing make it instantly important in the field of nonfiction literature, with books that use words as artistic medium, appealing to literary, academic, and trade audiences.

21st Century Essays is a major addition to the possibilities of contemporary literary nonfiction, focusing on that central, frequently chimerical, and invariably supple form: The Essay.

For more information about the series or submitting a proposal contact: Kristen Elias Rowley, OSU Press Editor-in-Chief. Submissions to the series and to The Gournay Prize will be accepted annually March 1 - April 30.

About the Series Editors

photograh of David Lazar

David Lazar’s books include the forthcoming essays collections I’ll Be Your Mirror: Essays and Aphorisms and On Character, from the University of Nebraska Press. Other books include: essay collections Occasional Desire and The Body of Brooklyn; the prose poetry collections Powder Town and Who’s Afraid of Helen of Troy; the nonfiction anthologies After Montaigne, Truth in Nonfiction, and Essaying the Essay, and the interview collections Michael Powell: Interviews and Conversations with M.F.K. Fisher. His digital anthology for Essay Press, Considering Garlands, was the first anthology on anthologies. Lazar founded the Ph.D. Program in nonfiction writing at Ohio University and directed the creation of the MFA program in nonfiction at Columbia College Chicago, where he teaches. He is also a faculty mentor at the Mile High MFA program at Regis University. He has been awarded an Ohio Arts Council Individual Artist Grant, and he was a John Simon Guggenheim Fellow in Nonfiction for 2015–2016. He is the founding editor of Hotel Amerika, now in its fifteenth year.

Patrick Madden Photograph

Patrick Madden is the author of two books of essays, Sublime Physick and Quotidiana (ForeWord magazine and Association for Mormon Letters awards winner and finalist for the PEN Center USA Literary Award); coeditor of After Montaigne: Contemporary Essayists Cover the Essays; and co-translator of the Selected Poems of Eduardo Milán. His essays have appeared in Fourth Genre, Hotel Amerika, the Iowa Review, the Normal School, Portland Magazine, River Teeth, and other journals, as well as in the Best Creative Nonfiction and Best American Spiritual Writing. A two-time Fulbright fellow to Uruguay, he teaches at Brigham Young University and Vermont College of Fine Arts, and he curates the online anthology and essay resource at www.quotidiana.org.

Editorial Advisory Board

Robert Atwan, the series editor of The Best American Essays and numerous other anthologies, has published essays, criticism, humor, and reviews in The New York Times, the Atlantic Monthly, the Iowa Review, Kenyon Review, Creative Nonfiction, and the Los Angeles Times.

Mary Cappello, a professor at the University of Rhode Island and a Guggenheim Berlin Prize fellow, is the author of Swallow, Called Back, Awkward: A Detour, and Night Bloom, as well as the forthcoming Life Breaks In: A Mood Almanack.

John D’Agata is the author of Halls of Fame, About a Mountain, and The Lifespan of a Fact, and editor of the 3-volume series A New History of the Essay, which includes The Next American Essay, The Making of the American Essay, and The Lost Origins of the Essay.

Wayne Koestenbaum, Distinguished Professor at CUNY, has published sixteen books of poetry, criticism, and fiction, including My 1980s & Other Essays, Hotel Theory, Humiliation, The Anatomy of Harpo Marx, Jackie Under My Skin, and The Queen’s Throat (a National Book Critics Circle Award finalist).

Phillip Lopate, editor of The Art of the Personal Essay, has written four essay collections: Bachelorhood, Against Joie de Vivre, Portrait of My Body, and Portrait Inside My Head along with many other books, including the craft book To Show and Tell: The Craft of Literary Nonfiction.

Maggie Nelson, director of the CalArts MFA program, is the author of nine books of poetry and prose; her nonfiction titles include The New York Times best seller The Argonauts, The Art of Cruelty: A Reckoning, Bluets, The Red Parts: A Memoir, and Women, the New York School, and Other True Abstractions.

Lia Purpura, a Guggenheim, Fulbright, and NEA fellow, is the author of eight collections of essays, poems, and translations, including Rough Likeness, a collection of essays, and On Looking, a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award.

Claudia Rankine, the Aerol Arnold Chair in the USC English Department and a Lannan and NEA fellow, is the author of five collections of poetry, including Don’t Let Me Be Loney and Citizen: An American Lyric, a National Book Critics Circle Award winner and finalist for the National Book Award.

David Shields is the author of twenty books, most recently, War is Beautiful, Other People, How Literature Saved My Life, Reality Hunger (named a best book of 2010 by thirty publications). The Thing About Life Is That One Day You’ll Be Dead, and Black Planet (National Book Critics Circle Award finalist).