Would that our memories were self-selecting. But often what we remember most, and most vividly, are those moments that caught us unawares: the things we wish we hadn’t seen and have never been able to shake. This group of prominent American writers tries to come to grips with obsessive memory, the uncanny, and the bad dreams that accompany the moments in our lives when we wish we’d looked away, the places we wish we’d never been, and the scenes we wish we’d never stumbled upon.

Featuring essays by Jericho Parms, XU XI, Jerald Walker, José Orduña, Kristen Iversen, Nicole Walker, Mary Cappello, Lina Ferreira, Colleen O’Connor, Sonya Huber, Paul Crenshaw, Alyce Miller, Patrick Madden, Amelia María de la Luz Montes, Yalie Kamara, Emily Heiden, Lee Martin, and David Lazar, this collection bares all. The authors invite readers into a dream that resurrects a departed mother each night, only to lose her again each morning upon waking; the post-mortem newspaper photos of a former student; kaleidoscope childhood memories of the mundane mixed up together with the traumatic; an unplanned pregnancy; a bullfight and a spouse’s mortality; a teen witnessing the suicide of her father; a parent trying to shield his children from witnessing a violent death. What these writers are after, though, is not the melancholic/grotesque/violent moment itself, but the process of remembering—and trying to forget. They examine the way these memories take hold, resurface, and never leave, and what it means for a life lived long after these moments have passed. These scenes, slowly enfolding us like bad dreams or flying by like trains on elevated platforms, demand we reach some kind of accommodation with them—make peace or make sense or make amends. The one thing they insist with certainty is this: they cannot—will not—be unseen.

Official Book Launch and Webinar for Don't Look Now
Friday, November 6, 2020
6:00 PM MDT

With this webinar, editors Kristen Iversen and David Lazar will officially launch their new book Don't Look Now: Things We Wish We Hadn't Seen, featuring contributions by 18 prominent American writers who will be panelists in the webinar.

Register to attend!

Don't Look Now Event Poster

Don't Look Now: Contributor Bios

Mary Cappello

Mary Cappello’s seven books include a detour (on awkwardness); a breast cancer anti-chronicle; a lyric biography; and, a mood fantasia, Life Breaks In. Her lyric manifesto—LECTURE—on the lost art of the lecture, the notebook and the nap, is the inaugural title in Transit Books’ Undelivered Lecture Series (Fall 2020). Her third book, Called Back (Alyson Books), will be re-issued next Spring from Fordham UP with a new afterword from the point of view of life within the pandemic. A former Guggenheim and Berlin Prize Fellow, Cappello is professor of English and Creative Writing at the University of Rhode Island.

Paul Crenshaw

Paul Crenshaw is the author of the essay collections This One Will Hurt You, published by The Ohio State University Press, and This We’ll Defend, from the University of North Carolina Press. Other work has appeared in Best American Essays, Best American Nonrequired Reading, The Pushcart Prize, anthologies by W.W. Norton and Houghton Mifflin, Oxford American, Glimmer Train, Tin House, North American Review and Brevity, among others.

Lina Ferreira

Lina M. Ferreira C.-V. graduated with both a creative nonfiction writing and a literary translation MFA from the University of Iowa. She is the author of Drown Sever Sing from Anomalous press and Don’t Come Back, from Mad Creek Books, as well as the co-editor of the forthcoming anthology The Great American Essay and the forthcoming 100 Refutations hybrid anthology from Mad Creek Books. Her fiction, nonfiction, poetry and translation work has been featured in various journals including The Bellingham Review, The Chicago Review, Fourth Genre, Brevity, Poets & Writers and the Sunday Rumpus, among others. She’s been the recipient of the Best of the Net award and the Iron Horse Review’s Discovered Voices award, she has been nominated for two Pushcart Prizes and is a Rona Jaffe fellow. She moved from Colombia to China to Columbus to Chicago, where she works as an assistant professor for the University of Chicago.

Emily Heiden

Emily Heiden's writing has appeared in The Washington Post, Lit Hub, Electric Literature, The Seattle Times, The Hartford Courant, Brevity Magazine, Colorado Review, and elsewhere. She has also recently appeared on NPR. Her essays will be published this year in the books Don't Look Now: Things We Wish We Hadn't Seen, from Ohio State University Press, which is currently out, and Fast Funny Women: 75 Essays of Flash Nonfiction, from Wood Hall Press. A Ph.D student at the University of Cincinnati, she holds an MFA in nonfiction from George Mason University and an MAT in teaching from the University of Iowa.

Sonya Huber

Sonya Huber is the author of six books, including the award-winning essay collection on chronic pain, Pain Woman Takes Your Keys and Other Essays from a Nervous System and the forthcoming Court Date: A One-Day Memoir. Her other books include Opa Nobody and Cover Me: A Health Insurance Memoir. Her work has appeared in the New York Times, Brevity, Creative Nonfiction, and other outlets. She teaches at Fairfield University and in the Fairfield low-residency MFA program.

Kristen Iversen

Kristen Iversen’s books include Full Body Burden: Growing Up in the Nuclear Shadow of Rocky Flats; Molly Brown: Unraveling the Myth; Shadow Boxing: Art and Craft in Creative Nonfiction; Doom with a View: Historical and Cultural Contexts of the Rocky Flats Nuclear Weapons Plant; and a forthcoming literary biography of Nikola Tesla. Her work has appeared in the New York Times, American Scholar, The Nation, and many others, and fellowships include the Ohio Arts Council, San Jose Literary Arts Council, Colorado Art Ranch, and the Taft Foundation. A Barnes & Noble Discover author, Iversen is a two-time winner of the Colorado Book Award. Iversen teaches at the University of Cincinnati, where she is also literary nonfiction editor of the Cincinnati Review. She also serves as a faculty mentor in the Mile High MFA program at Regis University. Iversen is currently a Fulbright Scholar at the University of Bergen, Norway. She is co-editor, with David Lazar, of Don’t Look Now.

Yalie Kamara

Yalie Kamara is a Sierra Leonean American writer and a native of Oakland, California. She’s the author of A Brief Biography of My Name, which was included in New-Generation African Poets: A Chap- book Box Set (Tano) and When the Living Sing. She earned an MFA in poetry from Indiana University, Bloomington, and is currently a doctoral student in English literature and creative writing at the University of Cincinnati. For more, visit www.yaylala.com.


David Lazar’s books include Celeste Holm Syndrome (Nebraska), I’ll Be Your Mirror: Essays and Aphorisms (Nebraska),Who's Afraid of Helen of Troy (Etruscan Press), After Montaigne (Georgia), Occasional Desire: Essays (Georgia), and The Body of Brooklyn (Iowa), among others.. He is founding editor of Hotel Amerika, and series editor, with Patrick Madden, of 21st Century Essays, at Ohio State University Press, and Professor at Columbia College Chicago. He was a Guggenheim Fellow in Nonfiction for 2015-16. He is co-editor, with Kristen Iversen, of Don’t Look Now.

Patrick Madden

Patrick Madden is the author of three essay collections, Disparates (2020), Sublime Physick (2016), and Quotidiana (2010), and coeditor of After Montaigne (2015). He teaches at Brigham Young University and Vermont College of Fine Arts; with Joey Franklin, he edits the journal Fourth Genre; with David Lazar, he edits the 21st Century Essays series at The Ohio State University Press; and he curates the online essay resource www.quotidiana.org.

Lee Martin

Lee Martin is the author of the novels, Yours, Jean (Dzanc Books, 2020); Late One Night (Dzanc Books, 2016); The Bright Forever (Shaye Areheart Books 2005), a finalist for the 2006 Pulitzer Prize in Fiction; Break the Skin (Crown, 2011); River of Heaven (Crown, 2008); and Quakertown (Dutton, 2001). He has also published three memoirs, From Our House (Dutton, 2000), Turning Bones (U of Nebraska Press, 2003), and Such a Life (U of Nebraska Press, 2012). A new memoir, Gone the Hard Road (Indiana University Press), will be published in May, 2021. His short story collections are The Mutual UFO Network (Dzanc Books, 2018) and The Least You Need to Know (Sarabande Books, 1996). He is a College of Arts and Sciences Distinguished Professor of English in the MFA program at The Ohio State University, where he is a past winner of the Alumni Distinguished Teaching Award.

Alyce Miller

Alyce Miller is the award-winning author of five books and more than 250 stories, essays, poems, articles, and book chapters. An ex-Californian, she currently lives in the DC metro area.

Amelia Montes copy

Amelia María de la Luz Montes is a writer, editor, co-editor, a Fulbright Scholar and Associate Professor of English and Ethnic Studies at The University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Her Penguin Classics edition of Ruiz de Burton’s novel Who Would Have Thought It? was listed on the Latino Books Month List from the Association of American Publishers. She is currently finishing a monograph about her year as a Fulbright Scholar in the Former Yugoslavia. A chapter of this book, “Defining La Rumorosa and Borderlands” was published in Fifth Wednesday Journal and nominated for a Pushcart Prize. She has also published in journals and anthologies such as the Afro-Hispanic Review, and in New Transnational Latinx Perspectives. Dr. Montes has given talks on her work throughout the country and internationally: at University of California Santa Barbara; University of California, Santa Cruz; University of Texas at Austin; University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill; NYU (New York University); University of Novi Sad, Serbia; University of Salamanca, Spain to name a few.

Colleen O Connor

Colleen O'Connor received her MFA in Nonfiction from Columbia College Chicago. She is the author of the chapbooks THE PRETTY THING TO DO (Dancing Girl Press) and CONVERSATIONS WITH ORSON (Essay Press). Recent work has appeared in the Atticus Review, Barrelhouse, and is forthcoming in Diagram. She lives in Chicago, where she serves as co-editor of The Lettered Streets Press.

Jose Orduna

José Orduña is an essayist originally from Córdoba, Veracruz, who immigrated to Chicago when he was a child. He holds an MFA from the University of Iowa’s Nonfiction Writing Program, and his first book, The Weight of Shadows: A Memoir of Immigration and Displacement, was published by Beacon Press. His work has been anthologized and has appeared in publications such as Timothy McSweeney’s Quarterly Concern, Triquarterly, and the North American Congress on Latin America.

Jericho Parms photo

Jericho Parms is the author of Lost Wax. Her essays have appeared in Fourth Genre, The Normal School, Hotel Amerika, American Literary Review, and elsewhere. Her work has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize, noted in Best American Essays, and anthologized in Brief Encounters: A Collection of Contemporary Nonfiction and Wave- form: Twenty-First-Century Essays by Women. She has an MFA from Vermont College of Fine Arts and teaches in the professional writing program at Champlain College.

Jerald Walker

Jerald Walker is author of the memoirs The World in Flames and Street Shadows. His work has appeared in magazines such as Creative Nonfiction, Harvard Review, River Teeth, The Missouri Review, Mother Jones, and The Iowa Review, and he has been widely anthologized, including four times in The Best American Essays. His collection of essays, How to Make a Slave, will be published in 2020. Walker is a professor of creative writing at Emerson College.

Nicole Walker

Nicole Walker is the author of The After-Normal: Brief, Alphabetical Essays on a Changing Planet, Sustainability: A Love Story, Where the Tiny Things Are, Egg, Micrograms, and Quench Your Thirst with Salt. https://www.facebook.com/nicole.walker.18041 Twitter: @nikwalkotter nikwalk.com.

Xi Xu credit Leslie Lausch

XU XI 許素細 is author of fourteen books of fiction and nonfiction, most recently This Fish is Fowl: Essays of Being (Nebraska 2019) as well as four anthologies of Hong Kong writing in English. Forthcoming from Bloomsbury is The Art & Craft of Stories from Asia, co-authored with Robin Hemley. She also founded/co-founded the Mongrel Writers Residence™and Authors at Large and co-directs a low-residency International MFA in writing and literary translation. An Indonesian-Chinese-American diehard transnational, she splits her life, unevenly, between the state of New York and the rest of the world. Follow her @xuxiwriter on FB, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn.