When Michael Steinberg and Robert Root founded Fourth Genre in 1999, they envisioned a magazine “devoted solely to works of contemporary nonfiction, extending from the personal essay—including nature, environmental, and travel writing—to memoir, literary journalism, and personal cultural criticism.” They hoped  to “emphasize the personal, autobiographical, and ‘literary’ impulses” of discovery, exploration, and reflection, and to capture what they called “the spirit of Montaigne’s work.”
          What Steinberg and Root couldn’t have known back then was that Fourth Genre would be part of a larger legitimization and expansion of literary nonfiction in the world of American Letters. That MFA programs across the country would expand to include tracks in literary nonfiction, that more and more literary magazines would open their pages to the genre, and that writers of literary nonfiction would push the boundaries of the genre into new and experimental places, including the lyric essay, the hermit crab essay, and the visual essay, just to name a few examples.
          For the past two decades, Fourth Genre has promoted that expansion and experimentation, curating in two issues a year works across the full spectrum of creative nonfiction, showcasing the lyrical, self-interrogative, meditative, and reflective, as well as the expository, analytical, exploratory, and whimsical.
          And more recently, with expanded web content that includes journal archives, craft essays, interviews, reviews, and multimedia essays, we hope to continue elevating and celebrating the best of creative and scholarly work in literary nonfiction.
          Subscriptions and back issues are available from Michigan State University Press, and all our journal content is also available at Project Muse and JSTOR.


Patrick Madden

Pat is a New Jersey Native with a PhD from Ohio University. His most recent books are the essay collections, Disperates (Nebraska 2020), and Sublime Physick (Nebraska 2016).

Headshot of Joey Franklin

Joey Franklin

Joey is originally from Portland, Oregon. He has a PhD from Texas Tech University, and his most recent books include The Writer’s Hustle (Bloomsbury 2022), and Delusions of Grandeur: American Essays (Nebraska 2020).



Mauri Johnson

Mauri Pollard Johnson lives with her husband in Utah where she is soon graduating with her MFA in Creative Nonfiction from Brigham Young University. Her work has been published in Punctuate, Inscape, Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, and she has an upcoming publication with The Normal School.

Samantha Sorensen

Samantha M. Sorenson is originally from Oroville, California and is currently pursuing her MFA in Creative Nonfiction at Brigham Young University. She has work forthcoming from Under the Sun Literary Magazine.


Chuck Anderson

bio forthcoming

Catalina Bartlett

Catalina Bartlett’s fiction has appeared in Aster(ix) Journal and the Boston Review, and twice has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Her collection, Comadres: Stories, received an Honorable Mention for Miami Book Fair’s 2022 Emerging Writer Fellowship. She is the recipient of a Ledig House Fellowship and an artist residency at Prairie Center for the Arts.

Lina Maria Ferreira Cabeza-Vanegas

Lina María Ferreira Cabeza-Vanegas 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 River Books, an imprint of the Ohio State University Press. 

Athena Dixon

Athena is a native of Northeast Ohio, and the author of The Loneliness Files (Tin House 2023) and The Incredible Shrinking Woman (Split/Lip Press 2020). She resides in Philadelphia.

Marya Hornbacher

Marya is an award-winning journalist, essayist, and novelist, and the New York Times bestselling author of five books. She travels full time, and is completing a work of longform journalism about the role of gender, body autonomy, and movement in American life.

Huan Hsu

Huan grew up in Salt Lake City, Utah, and received his MFA from George Mason University. He is a former staff writer for the Washington City Paper and Seattle Weekly and the author of The Porcelain Thief: Searching the Middle Kingdom for Buried China (Crown 2015). 

EJ Levy

EJ’s novel, The Cape Doctor (Little Brown 2021), was a New York Times Editor’s Choice and 2022 Colorado Book Award winner; her stories, Love, In Theory, won a Flannery O’Connor Award; her anthology, Tasting Life Twice: Literary Lesbian Fiction by New American Writers, received a Lambda Literary Award.

Jericho Parms

Jericho Parms is the author of Lost Wax (University of Georgia Press). Her essays have appeared in The Normal School, Hotel Amerika, American Literary Review, Brevity, Passages North 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 Waveform: Twenty-First-Century Essays By Women. She holds an MFA in Writing from Vermont College of Fine Arts and is a contributing editor at Fourth Genre.


Sarah Viren

Sarah is a contributing writer for the New York Times Magazine and teaches in the creative writing program at Arizona State University. She’s the author of Mine, winner of the River Teeth Book Prize, and To Name the Bigger Lie.



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Rosanna Gargiulo

Linda Gibson

Tessa Hauglid

Carma Hiland

Ben Langston

Susan Lite Lerner

Morgan Lewis

Alison Linnell

Linda Murphy Marshall

Anne McGrath

Debbie Moreno

Scott Russell Morris

Martha Petersen

Katie Quach

Erin Rhees

Daniel Rousseau

Rachel Rueckert

Shelli Rae Spotts

Kate Tagai

Elizabeth Tidwell