Issue #32, 2007

The Best Creative Nonfiction, Volume 1

Creative Nonfiction scoured alternative publications, blogs, literary journals and other often-overlooked publications in search of new voices and innovative ideas for essays written with panache and power. In these works, writers explore the sport of competitive eating; ponder the identity of a mysterious woman who killed herself in a Seattle hotel room; undergo medical testing to see what the future might hold; follow a pack of wild dogs around Manhattan; and trace the migration of one of China's first SARS victims during the "Era of Wild Flavor." Editor Lee Gutkind writes, "Beneath the cover of The Best Creative Nonfiction is an unusual and unforgettable literary experience for readers, writers and bookstore browsers seeking a porthole into literature that makes a personal connection with the writer and captures real life with the power of cinema and the integrity of fact."

Table of Contents

Introduction: Fame and Obscurity and Our Search for the Best Creative Nonfiction Lee Gutkind ... read more
The Cipher in Room 214: Who Was Mary Anderson and Why Did She Die? Carol Smith
Badlands: Portrait of a Competitive Eater John O'Connor
'Mbriago Louise DeSalvo
Cold Autumn Steve Dublanica
Consumption Sunshine O'Donnell
The Pain Scale Eula Biss
Full Gospel J.D. Schraffenberger
The Truth about Cops and Dogs Rebecca Skloot
Double Take Melissa Lafsky
Trapeze Lessons Marie Carter
Notes on Frey Daniel Nester
Miles to Go Before We Sleep Jeff Gordinier
Job No. 51—Executive Director and Job No. 52—Psychic Medium Oliver Davies
The Woot Files Monica Hsiung Wojcik
Sleepy Head Kelly Gruver
The Answer That Increasingly Appeals Robin Black
North Pole, South Pole, the Sea of Carcinoma Dev Hathaway
Thirteen More Ways of Looking at a Blackbird Dorie Bargmann
What Is the Future of Diagnostic Medicine? Michael Rosenwald
Like a Complete Unknown R.F. Foe
My Mother's Touch Alexis Wiggins
66 Signs That the Former Student Who Invited You to Dinner Is Trying to Seduce You Lori Soderlind
Wild Flavor Karl Taro Greenfield
Notes on the Space We Take Bonnie J. Rough
Tell Me Again Who Are You? Heather Sellers


Dorie Bargmann

Dorie Bargmann's work has appeared in Manoa and Prairie Schooner, and her forthcoming piece in Spurs of Inspiration received an award... read more

Eula Biss

Eula Biss is the author of The Balloonists. She teaches nonfiction writing at Northwestern University and she is co-editor of Essay Press.... read more

Robin Black

Robin Black's work has appeared in numerous publications including Alaska Quarterly Review, Colorado Review and The Southern Review. A... read more

Marie Carter

Marie Carter is the editor of Word Jig: New Fiction from Scotland (Hanging Loose Press, 2003) and has had work published in The Brooklyn... read more

Oliver Davies

Oliver Davies, who lives in Middelsbrough, Cleveland, UK, has an encyclopedic knowledge of bad jokes and a Pekingese puppy called Lulu. He... read more

Louise DeSalvo

Louise DeSalvo, winner of the Laura Pizer Prize in Creative Nonfiction, is professor of English and Jenny Hunter Endowed Scholar for... read more

R.F. Foe

R.F. Foe (miminewyork) grew up in Wales and received her BA (Hons) first class in English Literature from Cambridge University. From... read more

Jeff Gordinier

Jeff Gordinier conducted this Q&A for CNF. He is the editor-at-large at Details and the author of X Saves the World. His work has... read more

Karl Taro Greenfield

Karl Taro Greenfield has written three books about Asia, including Speed Tribes and last year's China Syndrome: The True Story of the... read more

Kelly Gruver

Kelly Gruver (Hotcoffeegirl) lives in Cleveland, works wherever someone will hire her, and used to be a Republican. She has spent time with... read more

Lee Gutkind

Lee Gutkind, recognized by Vanity Fair as “the Godfather behind creative nonfiction,” is the founder and editor of Creative... read more

Dev Hathaway

Dev Hathaway (1945-2005) was a professor of English at Shippensburg University beginning in 1993, and served for three years as the chair... read more

Melissa Lafsky

Melissa Lafsky is a lawyer-turned-writer whose blog about law firm life,, gained notoriety for its relentless... read more

Olivia Chia-lin Lee

Olivia Chia-lin Lee once worked as a high-class call girl in San Francisco and now is a taro-farmer in Hawaii. In July 2006, she started... read more

Debra Marquart

Debra Marquart is an associate professor of English and the author of three books, including Everything's a Verb: Poems (New Rivers... read more

Daniel Nester

Daniel Nester is the author of four books, most recently How to Be Inappropriate, and an associate professor of English at the College of... read more

John O'Connor

John O'Connor was born and raised in Kalamazoo, Michigan, and attended the creative writing program at Columbia University, where he... read more

Sunshine O'Donnell

Sunshine O'Donnell is an award-winning poet and educator who teaches creative writing, visual art and quantum physics to underserved... read more

Bonnie J. Rough

Bonnie J. Rough's essays have won the Iowa Review Award and the Annie Dillard Award for Creative Nonfiction. Other recent nonfiction... read more

Michael Rosenwald

Michael Rosenwald is a staff writer at The Washington Post. His work has also appeared in The New Yorker, Esquire, Smithsonian, ... read more

J.D. Schraffenberger

J.D. Schraffenberger's work appears in Paterson Literary Review, Seattle Review, Louisville Review, Poet Lore, Dogwood, Appalachian... read more

Heather Sellers

Heather Sellers is the author of a short story collection, Georgie Under Water, a Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers selection,... read more

Rebecca Skloot

Rebecca Skloot is an award winning science writer whose articles have appeared in The New York Times Magazine; O, The Oprah Magazine;... read more

Carol Smith

Carol Smith is an enterprise reporter for The Seattle Post-Intelligencer, where she has covered a variety of beats, including science,... read more

Lori Soderlind

Lori Soderlind is the author of Chasing Montana, a memoir. She earned her MFA from Columbia University and teaches journalism at Norwalk... read more

Steve Dublanica

"The Waiter" is the nom de plume of Steve Dublanica, a former Catholic seminarian and mental health care worker turned New York-... read more

Alexis Wiggins

Alexis Wiggins is a young American writer living in Spain. Her work has appeared in Rivet, Dimsun, Flashquake, Lime Tea, FRESH YARN and... read more

Monica Hsiung Wojcik

Monica Hsiung Wojcik is a senior at Princeton University, majoring in chemistry with a minor in French and Italian. Monica was born and... read more


"The best representatives of a fertile genre"

Publishers Weekly

December 31, 2007

This anthology, an offshoot of the journal Creative Nonfiction, kicks off an annual series drawing together the best representatives of... read more