Assay’s Academic Year 2016-17 Annual Report


We’ve had a good academic year here at Assay. Thank you, all, for your contributions, for reading the journal, and for your support. As has become our custom, we are offering our Annual Report to remain accountable.

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  • Celebrating Best American Essays: In the past year, Assay published a fall and spring issue: Assay 3.1 and Assay 3.2. In 3.1, we celebrated the 30th anniversary of Best American Essays with quite a few excellent pieces on the series itself.
  • We are thrilled to have been able to release our Nick Nelson’s spectacular Best American Essays Project into the world during Year 3–if you haven’t seen it, it’s here! He archived the entirety of Best American Essays‘ Notables and Reprints in a searchable format.

AWP 2017–Washington DC:

  • We conducted our first panel at AWP called Assaying “Our Hybrid Thing”: The Cross-Pollination of Nonfiction Studies and Pedagogy with Assay staff and alumni, including Ned Stuckey-French, Jenny Spinner, Crystal Fodrey, and Taylor Brorby. It was a blast!
  • We had a Bookfair Table, too, which was so much fun! Thank you for your support at the conference. Extra special thanks to our Advisory Board members: Dinty W. Moore for staffing our Bookfair table, and Ned Stuckey-French for being on our AWP panel. It was so great to meet so many of you in person and put faces to names!
  • Conference Panel Reports: During the 2017 AWP conference in Washington D.C., we published ongoing conference reports. If you missed them, check them out here! Many thanks for these contributions, which make it possible for those unable to attend the conference to benefit, too. When you attend a conference, please consider writing up a panel / reading / workshop / chance meeting for our “In the Classroom” series.
  • Stay tuned for the call for panel reports for the NonfictioNow conference in June.

In the Classroom Update:

  • Our ongoing “In the Classroom” series continues to publish “Favorite Essays to Teach” and “Writers to Read.” This past year we were also super pleased to feature interviews. See our interview with writer, editor, and professor Marcia Aldrich, here, regarding the fantastic anthology Waveform: Twenty-First-Century Essays by Women. We featured an interview, focusing on creative writing obsessions that are particularly useful in the cw classroom, with Deborah Poe, here. Be sure to read our interview with Gail Griffin on being an ally in our Spring 2017 issue and on her creative nonfiction essays, here.
    • We are currently working to more firmly integrate In the Classroom into the main website, so stay tuned for that reorganization this summer.

Syllabi Bank:

  • We’re here to support your teaching & writing. To that end, we maintain our syllabi bank. If you have a recent course syllabi that you’d like to contribute to the syllabi bank, please do! Expanding this resource will be a priority in Year 4.
Tootsie: Quality Control.


As you continue to consider your own submissions to the main journal and to the “In the Classroom” series, please think about students who might have thoughtful pieces or response papers — and encourage them to submit. At Assay, we are committed to supporting the work of undergraduate, graduate, and emerging writers.

Looking Ahead to Year 4:

We’re looking forward to next year! Assay’s fall journal issue will release September 1st. Our “In the Classroom” series will continue on October 2nd.

In the meantime, we’re reading for our Fall 2017 (4.1) issue, so please send your wonderful scholarship, informal analysis, and pedagogy!

With gratitude,

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