S181. Unearthing the Female Canon: Recovering Women's Place in the Essay Tradition

Room 006C, Henry B. González Convention Center, River Level
Saturday, March 7, 2020
12:10 pm to 1:25 pm


Contemporary women writers make an undeniable case for their rightful place in the essay canon. Still, a long tradition of women essayists remains poorly known. What are their names? Where can we find their work? Five writers and editors share the recovery work they've done, name their favorite lost foremothers of the essay, and situate those essays within a larger nonfiction tradition. This panel will both make visible the essential work of women essayists and probe ways they speak to us today.

Outline & Supplemental Documents

Event Outline: Unearthing_the_Female_Canon_Outline_2019.docx



Joanna Eleftheriou is on the faculty at Christopher Newport University and the Writing Workshops in Greece. Her fiction, essays, and poetry appear in journals including Arts & Letters, Chautauqua, and the Crab Orchard Review. Her manuscript, This Way Back, is an essay collection about home.

David Lazar was a Guggenheim Fellow in Nonfiction for 2015. His books are I’ll Be Your Mirror: Essays and Aphorisms, Who's Afraid of Helen of Troy, After Montaigne, Occasional Desire, and The Body of Brooklyn. He is founding editor of Hotel Amerika, and series coeditor of 21st Century Essays at OSU Press.

Desirae Matherly teaches writing at Tusculum College, and serves as nonfiction editor for The Tusculum Review. Desirae earned a PhD in creative nonfiction from Ohio University in 2004 and is a former Harper Fellow at the University of Chicago.

Beth Peterson is a nonfiction writer and assistant professor of writing at Grand Valley State University. A wilderness guide before she began writing, Beth's first book of essays, about glaciers, volcanoes, disappearing people and places, was published in 2019.

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.


March 4–7, 2020
San Antonio, TX

Henry B. González Convention Center