The Normal School’s ‘The Spirit of Disruption’ book is on sale now

The Spirit of Disruption book cover. Selections from The Normal School magazine.

~ By Benjamin Kirk, communications specialist for the College of Arts and Humanities

A decade in the making, The Normal School teamed up with San Francisco-based publisher Outpost 19 to publish a series of the magazine’s best essays.

The Normal School is the locally grown, nationally known literary magazine produced at Fresno State. Graduate students in the Master of Fine Arts Program in Creative Writing serve as staff for the magazine as part of the program’s editing and publishing emphasis.

Editor of The Normal School literary magazine, Steven Church, also served as editor of the book entitled “The Spirit of Disruption.” Beyond the bi-annual magazine publication, Church is the author of several other books, the Coordinator of the MFA Program in Creative Writing, and Professor of English at Fresno State.“Nobody knows what it’s like, nobody but me, to go out there and stand in front of 22,000 people and feel the hate, feel everything come down right on top of me." - W. Todd Kaneko from The Spirit of Disruption: Landmark Work from The Normal School: A Literary Magazine.

“I’m excited to have a book that collects and celebrates ten years of publishing great creative nonfiction at The Normal School,” said Church. “My hope is that this anthology will be a ‘go to’ text for creative writing teachers as well as a general audience interested in the depth, breadth, and possibilities of the contemporary essay. One of the coolest things in the book are the original reflections on their essays by the authors.”

The Spirit of Disruption: Selections from The Normal School 28 essays from the first decade of The Normal School magazine — a standard-bearer for creative nonfiction today. From a diverse list of authors, the anthology offers startling reflections on the exceptional and the everyday. An essential guide to the art of nonfiction, with new commentary from each contributor. Edited by Steven Church, the anthology is ideal for any class focused on the breadth and scope of the contemporary essay.

With 10 years of material to work from, Church says the hardest part was narrowing down which essays would be included.

“The hardest part in editing the anthology, honestly, was narrowing it down to only 28 essays,” said Church. “We’ve been fortunate enough to publish so much outstanding creative nonfiction from an incredibly diverse collection of contributors, that it was difficult to do just one volume. I think I’ve already compiled one or two other volumes in my head.”

Church went on to say, “The other challenge was how to organize the anthology, whether it should be focused on ‘style’ or ‘content,’ or some combination, which is ultimately what it became. We wanted a variety of pieces that could be in conversation with one another on the ‘norms’ of nonfiction today, which is and always has been the aesthetic of the magazine.”

The 28 contributors are Joe Bonomo, Kristen Cosby, Timothy Denevi, Silas Hansen, Caitlin Horrocks, Todd W. Kaneko, Matthew Komatsu, Dickson Lam, EJ Levy, Patrick Madden, Brenda Miller/Julie Marie Wade, Thomas Mira Y Lopez, Ander Monson, Rick Moody, Dinty W. Moore, Jaclyn Moyer, Aimee Nezhukumatathil, Jericho Parms, Elena Passarello, Lia Purpura, Colin Rafferty, David Shields, Margot Singer, Ana Maria Spagna, Natalie Vestin, Jerald Walker, and Rachel Yoder.

Funding support for the magazine comes in part from the College of Arts and Humanities.

You can find The Spirit of Disruption Here:
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The College of Arts and Humanities provides a diverse student population with the communication skills, humanistic values and cultural awareness that form the foundation of scholarship. The college offers intellectual and artistic programs that engage students and faculty and the community in collaboration, dialog and discovery. These programs help preserve, illuminate and nourish the arts and humanities for the campus and for the wider community.

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