Best Nonfiction Essays

There is happiness in recalling the way her mom showed her how to eat Jolly Pong, but H Mart also ignites anger for Zauner.In the food court, she cries again at the sight of an old Korean woman eating, asking “[w]hy is she here slurping up spicy jjamppong noodles and my mom isn’t?

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Coates’s ease in presenting West’s cross-generational relevance also presented an important point of connection between my students and me.

Regardless of the age gap, we had all grown up on Kanye’s music.

The Point, Notre Dame Magazine, Transition, and Prism received a lot of attention, and they’re also ones that are not likely to be on your radar, so pay attention: they’re publishing good stuff, and being recognized for it.

Don’t be too overwhelmed by the numerical place of each of these journals: the number doesn’t necessarily denote quality, it just means that the leaders in the industry (as represented by the guest editors of Best American Essays) have consistently labeled essays from that journal as being top notch. What is fantastic for the journal editor might not be an interesting read for you, and might also not be a good fit for the type of nonfiction you’ve written.

2018 was chaotic, mournful, elegiac, with a seemingly unending avalanche of losses and disorienting highs and lows. In America, our moral crisis may have been years in the making, but right now, it is all especially noisy, and pronounced, with no real end to the nastiness in sight.

At the start of the year, Trump slurred Haitians while rescinding deportation protections put in place after the 2010 earthquake.Our mutual familiarity opened up an important conversation about the divide between art and the artist, as well as the sticky social, cultural, and political complexities of fame.Throughout the semester, I found my students returning to this piece. Certainly this essay was a pleasure to teach, but it also had much to teach me, and for that I am grateful. The image of a young daughter on a bicycle, a father’s favorite memory, a family that’s been separated by incarceration.After I assigned this personal essay by Ta-Nehisi Coates during week one, most, if not all, of them changed their minds.Coates dissects the celebrity of Kanye West by interweaving personal narrative, meticulous research, and deft cultural and political commentary.Last month, Cindy Hyde Smith won an election in Mississippi, the state with the highest number of lynchings in history, despite, (mayb, because of), making public comments about a “public hanging” and laughing it off.The midterms’ “blue wave” brought us Ayanna Pressley, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tahlib, and Lauren Underwood as well as the defeat of Stacey Abrams and Beto O’Rourke and a new awareness of voter suppression.” And then explaining, “Other people must feel this way.Life is unfair, and sometimes it helps to irrationally blame someone for it.” In H Mart, Zauner gets at what makes grief so difficult a reality: in memories love and tragedy weigh the same, and it is a difficult task to honor both kinds of feelings within.Full of love for Alabama’s Black people — ancestors, artists, musicians, and thinkers — Perry maps the Alabama of past and present that she sees in her mind’s eye, in the outlines of her family history.But the essay is never simply a celebration of a South in which we want to believe.


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