Introducing WAVEFORM


“[Waveform] rides the ‘new wave’ in nonfiction essay writing with bravura, intelligence, and sensitivity.”—Kirkus Reviews


The idea for Waveform began some years ago when I became the editor of Fourth Genre: Explorations in Nonfiction. Submissions to that journal came from an abundant number of women writers, and I was consistently impressed by the quality of this writing.

It was clear that something needed to be done to shine a light on the wealth of essays by women writers, and in the fall of 2015, through conversations with the writer and teacher Jill Talbot, the idea for a collection by contemporary women essayists was born. From the start, I wanted an anthology that emphasized their innovations, rather than a collection organized by theme.

There are many nonfiction anthologies that highlight the range of the contemporary essay but do not focus on women. They attest to the enthusiasm for creative nonfiction and the demand for more diverse materials in the classroom. What has been missing is an anthology focusing on contemporary essays by women. What has been missing is Waveform.

Waveform grows out of the recognition that in our moment extraordinary writing is being done by women. I hope that it will have an impact upon the way we think about the contemporary essay. I am especially hopeful that it will be an attractive choice for use in the classroom.

My intent in this site is to give a little help to teachers and students who may be using Waveform. The site contains reviews and interviews, information about ordering the book, news of events, and brief reflections by the contributors on the composition of their essay. These comments are excellent sources for discussion. Also here are readers’ responses, informal engagements with the essays that report on the experience of reading and provide discussion questions.

The site will evolve as other materials appear. I am excited about discovering the ways this site can serve the reading community that grows around Waveform.


“It’s all here, just as it should be: birth, death, sex, longing, regret, anger, love.”—Booklist


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