Celebrating Creative Nonfiction!

Nonfiction isn’t always dry, dusty textbooks that feel like they take ten years to read. At the University of Georgia Press, our series Crux: The Georgia Series in Literary Nonfiction publishes works that are as accessible as they are informative. They take the form of personal and lyric essays, memoirs, cultural meditations, and literary journalism. 

long_fireandstone_pe.jpgFire and Stone: Where Do We Come From? What Are We? Where Are We Going? by Priscilla Long

“I have always thought of Priscilla Long as a science writer, one who explains the most fundamental and difficult processes of science in lucid and elegant prose. But Fire and Stone shows me that science is just one aspect of her exploration of the deepest questions related to her self and to our selves. She is finally a philosophical writer, one who employs science, history, autobiography, and her fine literary sensibility in an engaging search for meaning.”
—Robert Wilson, editor of the American Scholar

Using her own story as a touchstone, Long explores our human roots and how they shape who we are today. Her personal history encompasses childhood as an identical twin on a dairy farm on the Eastern Shore of Maryland; the turmoil, social change, and music of the 1960s; the suicide of a sister; and a life in art in the Pacific Northwest. Here, memoir extends the threads of the writer’s individual and very personal life to science, to history, and to ancestors, both literary and genetic, back to the Neanderthals.

Martone_Brooding.jpgBrooding: Arias, Choruses, Lullabies, Follies, Dirges, and a Duet by Michael Martone

“Michael Martone has drilled a hole in genre so deep Martone himself has fallen through, and he has brought us all down with him. So now here we all are. Far out, and more real than ever. Surrounded by earth and echo, and holier than whole. Trespassing through the depths of Martone, we begin to understand that postage stamps are poems, and stories are alive, and trains are weather, and posts are prayers, and form is formless, and minutia is a god worthy of a hearty dissection, and mischief is protocol, and the past is future. Down here, I can almost hear the dust singing hallelujah.”
—Sabrina Orah Mark, author of Tsim Tsum

This collection of more than twenty-five essays, both meditative and formally inventive, considers all kinds of subjects: everyday objects such as keys and hats, plus concepts of time and place; the memoir; writing; the essay itself; and Michael Martone’s friendship with the writers David Foster Wallace, Jonathan Franzen, and Kurt Vonnegut. Throughout the essays, Martone’s style expands with the incorporation of new technological platforms. Several of the pieces were written specifically for online venues, while the essays on the death of Martone’s mother and father were written on Facebook while the events happened. One essay about using new technologies in the classroom was written solely in tweets.

livingston_ladiesnight_he.jpgLadies Night at the Dreamland by Sonja Livingston

At the Dreamland, women and girls flicker from the shadows to take their proper place in the spotlight. In this lyrical collection, Sonja Livingston weaves together strands of research and imagination to conjure figures from history, literature, legend, and personal memory. The result is a series of essays that highlight lives as varied, troubled, and spirited as America itself.

Harnessing the power of language, Livingston breathes life into subjects who lived extraordinary lives— as rule-breakers, victims, or those whose differences made them cultural curiosities—bringing together those who slipped through the world largely unseen with those whose images were fleeting or faulty so that they, too, remained relatively obscure. Included are Alice Mitchell, a Memphis society girl who murdered her female lover in 1892; Maria Spelterini, who crossed Niagara Falls on a tightrope in 1876; May Fielding, a “white slave girl” buried in a Victorian cemetery; Valaida Snow, a Harlem Renaissance trumpeter; a child exhibited as Darwin’s Missing Link; the sculptors’ model Audrey Munson; a Crow warrior; victims of a 1970s serial killer; the Fox Sisters; and many more.

Peters_Pandora's Garden.jpgPandora’s Garden: Kudzu, Cockroaches, and Other Misfits of Ecology by Clinton Crockett Peters

“From species to species, with a mix of the clinician’s eye and the storyteller’s voice, Peters creates a sense of wonderment about his subjects.”
—Jonathan Liebson, Texas Observer

Pandora’s Garden profiles invasive or unwanted species in the natural world and examines how our treatment of these creatures sometimes parallels in surprising ways how we treat each other. Part essay, part nature writing, part narrative nonfiction, the chapters in Pandora’s Garden are like the biospheres of the globe; as the successive chapters unfold, they blend together like ecotones, creating a microcosm of the world in which we sustain nonhuman lives but also contain them.

Parsons_Exploded View.jpgExploded View: Essays on Fatherhood, with Diagrams by Dustin Parsons

In Exploded View “graphic” essays play with the conventions of telling a life story and with how illustration and text work together in print. As with a graphic novel, the story is not only in the text but also in how that text interacts with the images that accompany it.

Diagrams were an important part of Dustin Parsons’s childhood. Parsons’s father was an oilfield mechanic, and in his spare time he was also a woodworker, an automotive mechanic, a welder, and an artist. His shop had countless manuals with “exploded view” parts directories that the young Parsons flipped through constantly. Whether rebuilding a transmission, putting together a diesel engine, or assembling a baby cradle, his father had a visual guide to help him. In these essays, Parsons uses the same approach to understanding his father as he navigates the world of raising two young biracial boys.

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