R174. In Search of Our Essays’ Mother(s): Women and the History of the Essay

Florida Salon 5, Marriott Waterside, Second Floor
Thursday, March 8, 2018
12:00 pm to 1:15 pm


While we celebrate this “Golden Age for Women Essayists,” we note that women essayists other than Woolf, Didion, and Dillard are largely absent from historical/critical studies of the essay. Our panelists argue for a more inclusive tradition, taking into account how women essayists have successfully handled the special demands of essaying over the centuries. We will offer perspectives on a diversity of women essayists who have shaped the essay’s history and charted the way to our golden present.



Jenny Spinner is an associate professor of English at Saint Joseph's University in Philadelphia where she teaches nonfiction writing and literature and directs the university writing center. She earned her PhD in English from the University of Connecticut and an MFA in nonfiction from Penn State.

Kyoko Mori is the author of three nonfiction books (The Dream of Water; Polite Lies; Yarn) and four novels (Shizuko's Daughter; One Bird; Stone Field, True Arrow; Barn Cat). She teaches creative writing at George Mason University and for the low-residency MFA program at Lesley University.

Angela Morales, a graduate of the University of Iowa's nonfiction writing program, is the author of The Girls in My Town, a collection of personal essays. Her book is the winner of the River Teeth Book Prize and the PEN Diamonstein-Spielvogel Award for the Art of the Essay. Currently she teaches English at Glendale Community College.

Mary Cappello’s fifth book of lyric essay and experimental prose is Life Breaks In: A Mood Almanack. A Guggenheim, Lange-Taylor Prize, and Berlin Prize recipient, she is a former Fulbright Lecturer (Moscow), and teaches creative writing and literary theory at the University of Rhode Island.

Jocelyn Bartkevicius has received the Missouri Review Essay Award, Annie Dillard Award in Nonfiction, the John Guyon Literary Nonfiction Prize, and other awards. Her essays are in The Hudson Review, Bellingham Review, Iowa Review, Fourth Genre, Waveform: 21st Century Women Essayists, and elsewhere.


February 7–10, 2024
Kansas City, Missouri

Kansas City Convention Center