landmark essays

. . .from the first decade of The Normal School magazine — the standard-bearer for creative nonfiction today. From a diverse list of authors, startling reflections on the exceptional and the everyday. An essential guide to the art of nonfiction, with new commentary from each contributor. Edited by Steven Church.

Joe Bonomo • Kristen Cosby • Timothy Denevi • Silas Hansen • Caitlin Horrocks • Todd W. Kaneko • Matthew Komatsu • Dickson Lam • EJ Levy • Patrick Madden • Brenda Miller/Julie Marie Wade • Thomas Mira Y Lopez • Ander Monson • Rick Moody • Dinty W. Moore • Jaclyn Moyer • Aimee Nezhukumatathil • Jericho Parms • Elena Passarello • Lia Purpura • Colin Rafferty • David Shields • Margot Singer • Ana Maria Spagna • Natalie Vestin • Jerald Walker • Rachel Yoder

Advance praise

“Indispensable for anyone interested in discovering new directions in the contemporary essay”
- Robert Atwan, Best American Essays series founder and editor

"Before Shipshewana, things were clear. Out on the turnpike, I drove past the Sternwheeler, where enthusiasts placed bets. Semis parked by roadside trailers advertising adult relaxation, and on billboard, Godzilla-blondes sparked in string bikinis. The only portent that something was amiss came in the form of a storefront in downtown Bloomington, right past the liquor store, Our Lady of the Sheets Coin-Operated Chapel or something like that...." - Rachel Yoder from her essay "The Mindfuck: Returning to My Mennonite Homeland," excerpted at Lit Hub
" the time I didn’t know Montaigne from Montell Jordan, and I thought all 'creative' nonfiction was nature writing. But I would soon discover that I loved Joan Didion and Bernard Cooper, Truman Capote and Tobias Wolff, David Foster Wallace, Lauren Slater, David Shields, Lia Purpura, and Lawrence Weschler, as well as some of those aforementioned nature writers. I’d discover that I loved books that didn’t fit easily into 'normal' literary classifications, even if I wasn’t entirely sure what those literary classifications were..." - Steven Church on The Spirit of Disruption and The Normal School Nonfiction Series at Essay Daily

The Normal School is a bi-annual journal featuring nonfiction, fiction, poetry, criticism and journalism, founded 10 years ago and nestled happily into the California State University at Fresno like a comfy spore in a benign and mighty lung. Founder and nonfiction editor Steven Church is the author of I’m Just Getting To The Disturbing Part: On Work, Fear and Fatherhood, One With the Tiger: Sublime and Violent Encounters Between Humans and Animals, Ultrasonic: Essays, The Day After The Day After: My Atomic Angst, Theoretical Killings: Essays and Accidents, and The Guinness Book of Me: a Memoir of Record. His essays have been published and anthologized widely, including in the Best American Essays (2011). He coordinates the MFA Program at Fresno State.

The Spirit of Disruption:
Landmark Work from The Normal School
290 pages
$18.25 paperback ISBN 9781944853464
$9.99 ebook

August 2018

"It’s the punk rocker blurred with the lyric essay’s classical composer, the bareknuckle fist-fighter mixed with the ballroom dancer. It’s the narrative tension mashed together with lyric attention. . ."

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