Posts Tagged ‘essays’

Seven Essayists We Wish Were Here Today

 Last week David Carr passed away, leaving behind a legacy of journalism and reporting. Along with Carr, we’ve listed six essayists whose vision and writing informed our lives and guided our thoughts. Their work encouraged us to live with more knowledge, curiosity, and integrity, and their voices are sorely missed in our contemporary moment.

carDavid Carr (1956 – 2015) – A recent New York Times article discusses Carr’s energy and enthusiasm for students, describing him as a “a supreme talent scout” and natural teacher. On the evening he died he moderated a panel on the film Citizenfour, a nod to his interests in pop culture and politics, which he also tackled in his weekly column “The Media Equation.” The Times‘ publisher and chairman Arthur Ochs Sulzberger Jr. said, “David Carr was one of the most gifted journalists who has ever worked at The New York Times.” As many have expressed in recent days, his voice will be missed.

angelou3-sizedMaya Angelou (1928 – 2014) – Maya Angelou was a civil rights activist, director, playwright, actress, poet, author, teacher, and essayist. Her contributions span almost every aspect of the arts, and served as an inspiration to women and African Americans throughout her storied career. Her poem “On the Pulse of Morning” was read at President Bill Clinton’s  inauguration, making her the first poet to do so since Robert Frost for John F. Kennedy in 1961. The much-awarded Angelou was a talent and artist of the highest regard.

Adrienne-RichAdrienne Rich (1929 – 2012) – The Poetry Foundation calls Rich “one of America’s foremost public intellectuals.” Her poems and essays are highly political, and often explore issues of identity and sexuality. The Guardian writes that as a feminist her work helped move “the oppression of women and lesbians to the forefront of poetic discourse.” She declined the National Medal of Arts in 1997 in response to a House of Representatives vote to end the National Endowment for the Arts. Her bravery and voice paved the way for progressive thinking for years to come.

david-rakoff-giDavid Rakoff (1964 – 2012) – Rakoff’s writing has appeared in GQ, The New York Times Magazine, Details, Salon, Slate, Vogue, and Wired, and many others. He was also a contributor for This American Life, working closely with Ira Glass and David Sedaris to produce true stories about real people. The author of three bestselling essay collections, his writing is punctuated by sarcasm and humor and is often autobiographical. He wrote openly about LGBT issues, and is an advocate well known for his wit and candor.

Christopher_Hitchens_crop_2Christopher Hitchens (1949 – 2011) – Hitchens was a prolific writer and critic, with over thirty books including five collections of essays. A divisive figure, Hitchens loved to debate, with views that were as controversial as they were public. His opinions about politics, religion, and literature were well known, as was his support for the Iraq war, and criticism of public figures (Mother Teresa included). In 2009 Forbes listed Hitchens as “25 most influential liberals in the U.S. media” stating also that Hitchens would “likely be aghast to find himself on this list.” Hitchens pushed our culture to examine itself honestly, to value the debate, and live with an open mind.

sontag_130Susan Sontag (1933 – 2004) – If the recent documentary Regarding Susan Sontag is any indication, Sontag is a cultural icon. The New York Review of Books called her “one of the most influential critics of her generation.” She wrote extensively about culture and art, exploring film, photography, fiction, and nonfiction throughout her storied career. As President of the American PEN Center she advocated for freedom of expression and the advancement of literature, constantly pushing herself and her readers to think about the world critically. Her awards include a MacArthur Genius Fellowship, a National Book Award, the Malaparte Prize, and many others.

October Recap – Fiction, Essays, Interviews

In case you missed any of the amazing fiction, essays, or interviews we published last month, here is a list of all the goods. Enjoy!2008-08-06-a-devils-distinction


“What Happened to Eloise” by MANUEL GONZALES “At first we assumed she was the only one, the young woman with a thick smear of blood on her lips.”

“Other Dangers” by BEN HOFFMAN “The Japanese people were dust now and soon we would be dust too, if we did not line up promptly, if the Soviets had their way, if our cursive wavered, if we did not keep our voices down.”

“The Punk’s Bride” by KATE BERNHEIMER “So she went and they listened to records. They got really drunk on tequila, the kind that comes in a glass skull. The next day she made him breakfast. Then lunch. Then supper. After a few years like this he said they should get married.”

Contest Winner: “In Ribbons” by PAUL MCQUADE “He has asked grandma how Miss Pak came to be blind, but each time, grandma shook her head and said, ‘There are some things little boys shouldn’t know.’ ”


“Vocabulary of Fear” by LINCOLN MICHEL “On the surface, horror and terror seem like synonyms, but Radcliffe argues that “Terror and horror are so far opposite…” Do you know the difference between horror and terror?

“Familiar Terrors: What Scares us About The Domestic Surreal” by SADYE TEISER “These stories call into question what it is we know about the very basis of our lives. They change the constant; they make the familiar grotesque. The scariest tales tell us that nothing can be known for sure. What is more frightening than that?”

“Fear Works — Scary Stories in Children’s Literature” by KIM WINTERNHEIMER “Suddenly, the thrill of a scary story becomes more than a fun way to spend a dark evening — it becomes key to development.”


Lemony Snicket – AN UNFORTUNATE INTERVIEW: “Because it’s so absurd that it’s happening to children that the line between it being terrifying and funny is more easily straddled.”

Ellen Datlow – AWARD WINNING HORROR AND SCIENCE FICTION EDITOR: “One thing I’ve learned is that the borders are fluid. Many of the most interesting stories combine science fiction and horror, or drift uneasily between dark fantasy and horror. There is science fiction that feels like fantasy and fantasy that feels like science fiction.”

Julia Elliott – AUTHOR OF THE WILDS: To me, every text—whether religious, artistic, or scientific—is a reinvention of reality.

Freak Us Out – October at The Masters Review

We’re dedicating thirty-one days to our favorite sort of writing: the creepy, the disturbing, the scary, and the frightening.

Lucky (or unlucky) $13 earns writers a chance at a $500 prize and publication on The Masters Review. Send us your best disturbing, hair-raising, and creepy literary fiction. 

With original fiction from Manuel Gonzales of The Miniature Wife and Other Stories and Nelson Algren Award, Zoetrope, and Origami Zoo Press contest winner Ben Hoffman, there will be plenty of bone-chilling moments. We conclude the month by publishing our Scary Story Contest winner on Halloween Day. (Deadline October 15, 2014)

Electric Literature and Gigantic Magazine editor Lincoln Michel is contributing an essay on the distinctions between horror and terror, and Masters Review Founding Editor Kim Winternheimer examines fear in the field of children’s literature. Editorial Director Sadye Teiser shows us how people use the surreal to tell scary stories, and we’ve also asked 13 editors in the field to name their favorite scary story.

Storied anthology editor and horror-expert Ellen Datlow talks about her preferences in the horror genre and writer Julia Elliott, author of The Wilds (Tin House, Oct.) talks with editors about her use of gothic and gruesome textures in her writing. We are also interviewing Lemony Snicket! Novelist and children’s writer Daniel Handler (AKA Lemony Snicket) has agreed to chat about his experience writing dark themes in a genre for children as well as his experience writing fiction for adults.