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).



Samantha Sorenson

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.

Megan McComber

Megan is currently an MFA student at BYU. She has recently been published in Mount Hope Magazine and Under the Gum Tree. She is also the 2023 winner of the Mayhew Competition and David O. McKay Essay Contest. She can most often be found running, baking cookies with her husband, or reading the same book for the eighth time to her 18-month-old daughter.


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.

Jehanne Dubrow

is the author of nine poetry collections and three books of creative nonfiction, including most recently Exhibitions: Essays on Art & Atrocity (New Mexico State University Press, 2023). She is a Professor of Creative Writing at the University of North Texas.

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.

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.



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.


Kate Caroll de Gutes

Kate Carroll de Gutes, Iowa City, Iowa, and Portland, Oregon, is a genderqueer writer whose work explores sexuality and the qualities of gender identity and expression in order to examine how butch women are dismantling traditional modes of masculinity and inhabiting a territory of masculine identity that has nothing to do with cis-men. As critics have become louder and more oppositional about issues of gender identity and expression, Kate feels an urgent need to counter and subvert traditional images and narratives. She is currently working on a new essay collection tentatively titled, Will We See You In Something More Feminine Tomorrow?



Brock Allen

Holly Baker

Whitney Brown

Courtney Bulsiewicz

John Carpi

Jessica Crellin

Mackenzie Epping

Tina Essmaker

Linda Gibson

Jen Graney

Elizabeth Kwon Gulsvig

Tessa Hauglid

Natalie Johansen

Mauri Johnson

Ben Langston

Stephanie LaRose

Susan Lerner

Alison Linnell

Susan Mack

Linda Murphy Marshall

Debbie Moreno

Scott Russell Morris

Martha Petersen

Erin Rhees

Mark Routhier

Shelli Rae Spotts

Donna Stapely

Leslie Stonebraker

Cheryl Wright-Watkins

Juliet WayHenthorne

Michele Walker