Oct 3, 2008


The Best Creative Nonfiction vol. 2, is now in bookstores, marking my initiation into the book world. (That is if we don’t count my appearance in Rupert Sheldrake’s book, The Sense of Being Stared At, for my powers of telepathy — if you ask, I just might tell).

As soon as my personal copy of the Norton anthology arrived in my mailbox, I tore open the package and turned the pages until I saw the title of my story about egg donation called, “The Egg and I” on page number 131, sandwiched between a piece that appeared in Harper’s last year about the amazing oceanic journey of thousands of plastic floatable toys and a previously unpublished essay that shed light on the challenges of being a part of a 21st century multiracial family.

I’ve been reading the pieces slowly, enjoying them immensely. My copy is already feathered with post-its, noting favorite phrases, poignant real-life observations and well-told dramatic moments. The opening piece by Anne Trumbore is gripping—I don’t want to say more for fear of spoiling the read. David Bradley’s essay about the death of the N-word is at once hilarious, reflective and instructive. And Laura Sewell Matter’s story called, “Pursuing the Great Bad Novelist” is the ultimate example of the kind of down-the-rabbit-hole adventures we writers often send ourselves on when we're avoiding writing. Only in this rabbit hole, she found a story worth telling.

Critics have given high praise to the anthology. Here’s what Publisher's Weekly said in a starred review:

From Publishers Weekly

In his follow-up to last year's volume, the first in a re-launched, annual version of his journal Creative Nonfiction, Lee Gutkind gathers another fresh collection of exemplary essays from a wide range of authors and sources, tackling everything from multiracial love and familial exile to the connection between memory and digital photo manipulation. Relatable situations and eccentric writers keep the stories intelligent but accessible, and often poignant; especially resonant is Gwendolyn Knapp's attempt to rehabilitate her mom's terminal case of pack-rat fever. Sarah Miller-Davenport provides some levity in a piece on guilty (and expensive) pleasures called "Here I Am in Bergdorf Goodman." Many accounts run up the old stranger-than-fiction flag, most notably Sewell Matter's piece regarding her discovery, on an Icelandic beach, of a page torn from a book; captivated by the "amazingly, almost unbelievably, bad" excerpt, she sets off on a global search for the complete novel. Proving again his chops as an anthologist, Gutkind's latest collection-which also includes Heidi Julavits, Pagan Kennedy, William deBuys and the guy behind IAmGettingFat.blogspot.com-is a 30-run homer, a whirlwind of moods and thoughts captured by some of the biggest talents on the essay and blog beat.

You can The Best Creative Nonfiction, Vol. 2 at any bookstore. Here's a link to Powells Books where you can order it from for $15.

I'm have a number of copies to give as prizes ... I just waiting for inspiration on what the contest should be. Any ideas?


John Harley said...

Congratulations! I'll make sure to pack my autograph book when we come to visit.

I suggest a short-story contest for those who want a chance to win a book... Why not keep it literary, right?

Katie Campbell said...

Thanks John! That's a great idea. I like it... I could publish the winners stories too. Great idea.

ericanoel said...

How about a contest where people guess how many times Palin says Maverick during her next interview? BTW, I'm totally going to buy a copy tomorrow. Keep rockin' it, girl!

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