Synopses & Reviews
The University of Iowa is a leading light in the writing world. In addition to the Iowa Writers’ Workshop for poets and fiction writers, it houses the prestigious Nonfiction Writing Program (NWP), which was the first full-time masters-granting program in this genre in the United States. Over the past three decades the NWP has produced some of the most influential nonfiction writers in the country.
I’ll Tell You Mine is an extraordinary anthology, a book rooted in Iowa’s successful program that goes beyond mere celebration to present some of the best nonfiction writing of the past thirty years. Eighteen pieces produced by Iowa graduates exemplify the development of both the program and the field of nonfiction writing. Each is accompanied by commentary from the author on a challenging issue presented by the story and the writing process, including drafting, workshopping, revising, and listening to (or sometimes ignoring) advice. The essays are put into broader context by a prologue from Robert Atwan, founding editor of the Best American Essays series, who details the rise of nonfiction as a literary genre since the New Journalism of the 1960s.
Creative nonfiction is the fastest-growing writing concentration in the country, with more than one hundred and fifty programs in the United States. I’ll Tell You Mine shows why Iowa’s leads the way. Its insider’s view of the Iowa program experience and its wealth of groundbreaking nonfiction writing will entertain readers and inspire writers of all kinds.
"This illustrious annual anthology returns for its 29th year with a vengeance, featuring 21 of the year's most urgent and at times painfully truthful pieces of nonfiction published in U.S. periodicals. The introduction from editor Sullivan (Pulphead) traces the tangled etymological history of the term 'essay,' asking 'How could we honestly trust any creature that comes into the world wearing such a caul of ambiguity?' Series editor Atwan's preface also touches on this theme, referencing the recent spate of dishonest memoirs but deeming the offerings here 'simultaneously intense, intellectual and inventive.' This multifaceted approach to narrative can be seen in Wendy Brenner's 'Strange Beads,' wherein she takes on the unfathomable burden of mourning her ex-fiancÃ©'s recent death while also facing her own ongoing struggle with cancer. It also appears in Barry Lopez's 'Sliver of Sky,' in which Lopez bravely revisits his horrific experience of sexual abuse during his 1950s childhood. Other impactful selections include Wells Tower's 'The Old Man at Burning Man,' Jerald Walker's 'How to Make a Slave,' and James Wood's 'Becoming Them.' This eclectic, powerful array of thought-provoking essays is sure to appeal to a broad array of readers. Agent: Gerald McCauley, Gerard McCauley Agency, and Jin Auh, Wylie Agency. (Oct.)" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"This collection is satisfying in its unexpected diversity and tasty juxtapositions . . . Every reader will come away delighted and enlightened." -- Publishers Weekly, starred review
"A wide variety of quality writing, both reflective and reported." -- Kirkus Reviews
“Not only is this an anthology of some of the best essays that have been written in the United States over the last three decades but it is also a well-planned writing textbook. The editors are astute, talented, and experienced and the essays are wonderful. This is an important book.”
"I'll Tell You Mine presents some of the country’s most exciting young essayists. Though their roots are in Iowa, their reach as innovators extends far into the realm of American letters today. This collection of work from their MFA days, and after, reveals the robust health of both the essay—in all its capacious forms—and the program itself."
"While these essays are uniformly absorbing and artful, there's nothing uniform about the variety of sensibilities and styles showcased in I'll Tell You Mine. From the chonological to the collaged, from the political to the personal, each contributor suceeds in creating a vital and persuasive version of the world. Many of my favorite writers appear in these pages, and many others possess voices I look forward to investigating further. A rewarding and necessary collection."
"Those of us who craft stories without inventing them as fiction writers do, or who pursue elusive ideas through the labyrinths of essays, or who speak in personal voices about public issues and shared mysteries—all of us in this tribe of truth-seekers owe a debt of gratitude to the scholars, teachers, and writers in the Iowa Nonfiction Writing Program. They are pioneers, and talented ones. The fruits of their endeavors are on display here, in a collection that suggests the broad range of styles and subjects of this versatile genre."
Pulphead author John Jeremiah Sullivan, "among the best young non-fiction writers in English" (The New York Times), picks the year's best essays selected from hundereds of magazines, journals, and websites.
“A creature from an alternative universe . . . wanting to understand what is on the American mind should rush to the nearest bookstore and buy a copy of this distinguished anthology . . . Exhilarating.” — Publishers Weekly
The Best American Essays 2014 is selected and introduced by John Jeremiah Sullivan, author of the critically acclaimed essay collection Pulphead. The New York Times placed Sullivan “among the best young nonfiction writers in English” and the New York Times Book Review heralded Pulphead as “the best, and most important, collection of magazine writing since Wallaces A Supposedly Fun Thing Ill Never Do Again.”
The twenty-fifth anniversary edition of the esssay collection that consistently offers the "best of the best" (Kirkus).
The provocative and best-selling author Christopher Hitchens takes the helm of the twenty-fifth anniversary edition of this perennial favorite that is reliable and yet still surprisingthe best of the best” (Kirkus Reviews).
A collection of the years's best essays, as published in periodicals.
The Best American Series®
First, Best, and Best-Selling
The Best American series is the premier annual showcase for the countrys finest short fiction and nonfiction. Each volumes series editor selects notable works from hundreds of magazines, journals, and websites . A special guest editor, a leading writer in the field, then chooses the best twenty or so pieces to publish. This unique system has made the Best American series the most respected—and most popular—of its kind.
The Best American Essays 2011 includes
Hilton Als, Katy Butler, Toi Derricotte, Christopher Hitchens,
Pico Iyer, Charlie LeDuff, Chang-Rae Lee, Lia Purpura, Zadie Smith,
Reshma Memon Yaqub, and others
Over the past three decades, nonfiction writing in its many forms—memoir, travel writing, essays, narrative nonfiction—has attained increasing popularity among the reading public and growing recognition within the literary canon. In this genre as in fiction and poetry, the University of Iowa has led the way in offering developing writers a setting where they can immerse themselves in their craft for a couple of years with a community of likeminded peers. This collection of 18 pieces—all of them by graduates of Iowa’s Nonfiction Writing Program, and all begun (though often not finished) while their authors were in the program—illustrates the range and evolution of nonfiction forms during this period. Each piece is accompanied by commentary from the author on an issue of writing process or craft that proved to be a challenge in drafting or revising the piece. Their work is put into broader context by a prologue from Robert Atwan, editor of the Best American Essays series, who details the rise of nonfiction as a literary genre since the New Journalism of the 1960s.
About the Author
Hope Edelman is best known for her internationally bestselling book Motherless Daughters, which has been followed by two revised editions and two sequels, and her memoir The Possibility of Everything. She teaches nonfiction writing at Antioch University in Los Angeles and returns every summer to teach in the Iowa Summer Writing Festival.Robin Hemley is writer-in-residence and director of the writing program at Yale-NUS College in Singapore. He served as director of Iowa’s Nonfiction Writing Program from 2004 to 2013. He has won many awards for his writing, including the Guggenheim and three Pushcart Prizes, and has published eleven books of prose.