21st Century Essays
Edited by David Lazar and Patrick Madden

New & Forthcoming 21st Century Essays Titles:

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Fear Icons


Kisha Lewellyn Schlegel

EXPEXCTED Pub Date: September, 2018
5.5 x 8.5, 160 pp.
$19.95 Paper

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Hummingbirds Between the Pages

Chris Arthur

EXPECTED Pub Date: July, 2018
5.5 x 8.5, 254 pp.
$23.95 Paper

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A Love Story

Nicole Walker

Pub Date: August, 2018
5.5 x 8.5, 288 pp.
$23.95 Paper

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Love’s Long Line

Sophfronia Scott

Pub Date: February, 2018
5.5 x 8.5, 240 pp.
$19.95 Paper

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The Real Life of the Parthenon

Patricia Vigderman

Pub Date: January, 2018
5.5 x 8.5, 200 pp.
31 illustration
$21.95 Paper

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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

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


This series from Mad Creek Books is a vehicle to discover, publish, and promote some of the most daring, ingenious, and artistic 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 especially important in the field of nonfiction literature. In addition to publishing the most interesting and innovative books of essays by American writers, the series publishes extraordinary international essayists and reprint works by neglected or forgotten essayists, voices that deserve to be heard, revived, and reprised. The series 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.



The Gournay Prize will select one book length collection of essays each year to receive a cash prize of $1000 and publication in the 21st Century Essays series on Mad Creek Books, an imprint of The Ohio State University Press. Submission window: March 1-April 30

  • The award is open to all writers for first books of essays. Writers may have published books previously in other genres.
  • The award is open to writers in English, whether or not they are citizens of the United States. Translations are not eligible.
  • Prior publication of your manuscript as a whole in any format (including electronic or self-published) makes it ineligible. Individual essays that have been previously published may be included in the manuscript. Each submission must include a list of acknowledgments of previously published work (title and magazine/journal/anthology) included in the manuscript.
  • Manuscripts may also be under consideration by other publishers, but if a manuscript is accepted for publication elsewhere, the submission should be promptly withdrawn from consideration.
  • Authors may submit more than one manuscript to the competition as long as one manuscript or a portion thereof does not duplicate material submitted in another manuscript. An entry fee must be paid for each submission.
  • Manuscripts must be received from March 1-April 30 via Submittable online at the link above.
  • A $28 entry fee must be received for each submitted manuscript.
  • No hard copy manuscript submissions will be considered.

  • The Gourney Prize Winners

    2018 Kisha Lewellyn Schlegel for Fear Icons (forthcoming in 2018)
       Runner up: Paul Crenshaw for This One Will Hurt You (forthcoming in Spring of 2019)

    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.

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    Editorial Advisory Board

    Robert Atwan

    Mary Cappello

    John D’Agata

    Wayne Koestenbaum

    Phillip Lopate

    Maggie Nelson

    Lia Purpura

    Claudia Rankine

    David Shields