Issue #53, Fall 2014


Creative Nonfiction #53, our first-ever readers' choice theme issue, is dedicated to MISTAKES. We've collected an explosive group of essays exploring wrong turns and missteps—from a dramatic prison protest to an ill-advised game of strip-spin-the-bottle, from a bad tattoo to the epidemic of errors plaguing our healthcare system. Together, these true stories grapple with questions that get at the heart of how to live.

Plus, why building a platform is a waste of a writer's time, why publishing won't make you happy, and why readers shouldn't worry (too much) about the occasional typo. With illustrations by Kelly Blevins.

This issue is currently sold out.
A digital edition is available here.


Table of Contents

From the Editor Lee Gutkind ... read more
"Platforms" Are Overrated Stephanie Bane ... read more
Does Publication Make Writers Happy? Patricia A. Nugent
The Correctors Carol Fisher Saller ... read more
The Same Story Suzanne Roberts
What You Learn in College Karen Donley-Hayes ... read more
The Botch Job Joe Oestreich
Don't Scream Bill Pitts
Wrong Turn Arthur Plotnik
Still, Standing Ennis Smith
Without a Tighter Breathing Gladys Haunton


Lee Gutkind

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

Stephanie Bane

Stephanie Bane is a brand strategist at Smith Brothers Agency, whose clients have included Nestlé, Heinz, and Red Bull. She recently... read more

Patricia A. Nugent

Patricia A. Nugent is the author of They Live On: Saying Goodbye to Mom and Dad, a compilation of vignettes portraying the stages of caring... read more

Carol Fisher Saller

Carol Fisher Saller is a senior manuscript editor in the Books Division of the University of Chicago Press and editor of The Chicago Manual... read more

Scott Loring Sanders

Scott Loring Sanders lives in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. In 2014, he had a story featured in The Best American Mystery Stories,... read more

Suzanne Roberts

Suzanne Roberts is the author of the memoir Almost Somewhere (Winner of the National Outdoor Book Award), as well as four collections of... read more

Karen Donley-Hayes

Karen Donley-Hayes’s work has appeared in The Journal of the American Medical Association, Bartleby Snopes, Blue Lyra Review, The... read more

Joe Oestreich

Joe Oestreich is the author of two books of creative nonfiction: Hitless Wonder: A Life in Minor League Rock and Roll and Lines... read more

Bill Pitts

Bill Pitts is writing a book about the Georgia “work camp” prisons of the 1950s and ’60s. His research includes... read more

Catherine Musemeche

Catherine Musemeche is a pediatric surgeon and the author of Hurt: The Inspiring, Untold Story of Trauma Care, from which this essay is... read more

Arthur Plotnik

Arthur Plotnik is the author of eight books, including Spunk & Bite: A Writer's Guide to Bold, Contemporary Style and The Elements... read more

Ennis Smith

Ennis Smith’s work has appeared in the anthology New York: Lost and Found; Ganymede; and Boys in the City. He has also been a dance... read more

Gladys Haunton

Gladys Haunton has taught courses for impaired and institutionalized adults as well as college courses in writing and literature at... read more