Writing In Public celebrates the art and intelligence of essays, online and in print.

Each week the site curates a collection of essays, reviews, and interviews that present ideas and experiences to inspire and challenge our everyday lives. Drawing on a diversity of subjects from music to travel, architecture to anthropology, design to technology, Writing In Public reimagines the power and inventiveness of the essay genre to connect the personal to the public.

3 weeks ago
Flâneuse: Women Walk the City in Paris, New York, Tokyo, Venice, and London

"I walk because somehow, it’s like reading. You are there, but you’re not really there; you’re privy to these lives and conversations that have nothing to do with yours, but you can eavesdrop ... See more

How women writers and artists, from Virginia Woolf to Sophie Calle, found inspiration and freedom by navigating cities on foot.

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3 months ago
In Defense of Facts

"D’Agata’s trilogy, by its very nature, misrepresents almost every piece it includes. When he refers to his selections as essays, he does more than falsify the essay as a genre. He also effaces ... See more

A new history of the essay gets the genre all wrong, and in the process endorses a misleading idea of knowledge.

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7 months ago
The mysterious ancient origins of the book

"It is not too much to say that books and reading are in the throes of a revolution."

The debate about ebooks v paper books is nothing new. Keith Houston explains how a very similar debate raged as the first books came to be in ancient Rome.

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7 months ago
VIDEO ESSAY - BOOKS IN ALMODÓVAR FILMS.

Books in the films of Pedro Almodóvar

Cinema and literature, both are passions for Pedro Almodóvar. You can see a lot of books in his movies, with different meanings. Books as gifts, books as…

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11 months ago
[Reviews] | Note To Self, by Elaine Blair | Harper's Magazine

Elaine Blair writes: "Can everything important be filtered through a talking “I”? What do we do with our skepticism of the bourgeois subject and his abiding interest in his personal experiences, ... See more

The lyric essay’s convenient fictions

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11 months ago
Maggie Nelson’s Many Selves

Hilton Als on Maggie Nelson: "Speaking freely but thoughtfully is important to Nelson, in part because as a kid she was teased for being a “Chatty Cathy,” and in part because she finds ideas ... See more

Balancing pathos with philosophy, Nelson has created a new kind of classicism, queer in content and elegant in shape.

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11 months ago
You Should Care about My Life

Mandy Len Catron thoughtful critique to Guriel's argument at The Walrus Magazine: "So often the most trenchant cultural critiques come from those who are routinely marginalized, whose points of view ... See more

There is power in using the first-person pronoun. It's not just trivial, it’s essential

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11 months ago
I Don’t Care about Your Life

A not so convincing argument against the personal in contemporary criticism at The Walrus Magazine: Guriel writes: "Smart sentences, one after the other, are usually heartbeat enough."

Why critics need to stop getting personal in their essays

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1 year ago
On Conjuring & Bigness: Writing Women’s History as Personal Essay

"These lives were real and I wanted to honor—but not be limited to—the scant historic record. I wanted to imagine (or re-imagine) living breathing human beings and to do it within the context of ... See more

By Sonja Livingston It nearly knocked me out of my seat the first time I heard it. Thanksgiving Day, and I was a thousand miles from family and pumpkin pie. I drove south from Memphis, winding thro…

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1 year ago
The Unforgivable Half Truths of Memoir

"How eagerly lives become doggerelized. What does it mean for the memoir as a form now that everyone, at any time, can instantaneously advertise his life to everyone else? Mailer never dreamed of ... See more

A decade since James Frey's memoir was exposed, we're still addicted to fiction packaged as truth.

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James Polchin, Ph.D.
Founder and Editor 

Contact James: james@writinginpublic.com or on Twitter