New Books in the Arts & Sciences

Celebrating Recent Work by Nicole B. Wallack

Friday, November 9, 2018  12:15pm The Heyman Center, Second Floor Common Room


Free and open to the public

No registration necessary

First come, first seated


The Society of Fellows and Heyman Center for the Humanities

Office of the Divisional Deans in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences

Department of English and Comparative Literature

    Event Video
    New Books in the Arts & Sciences: Celebrating Recent Work by Nicole B. Wallack

New Books in the Arts & Sciences:
Celebrating Recent Work by Nicole B. Wallack

Crafting Presence: The American Essay and the Future of Writing Studies
By: Nicole B. Wallack

Essays are central to students’ and teachers’ development as thinkers in their fields. In Crafting Presence, Nicole B. Wallack develops an approach to teaching writing with the literary essay that holds promise for writing students, as well as for achieving a sense of common purpose currently lacking among professionals in composition, creative writing, and literature.

Wallack analyzes examples drawn primarily from volumes of The Best American Essays to illuminate the most important quality of the essay as a literary form: the writer’s “presence.” She demonstrates how accounting for presence provides a flexible and rigorous heuristic for reading the contexts, formal elements, and purposes of essays. Such readings can help students learn writing principles, practices, and skills for crafting myriad presences rather than a single voice.

Crafting Presence holds serious implications for writing pedagogy by providing new methods to help teachers and students become more insightful and confident readers and writers of essays. At a time when liberal arts education faces significant challenges, this important contribution to literary studies, composition, and creative writing shows how an essay-centered curriculum empowers students to show up in the world as public thinkers who must shape the “knowledge economy” of the twenty-first century.


  • Author

    Nicole B. Wallack

    Senior Lecturer-in-Discipline in English and Comparative Literature

    Columbia University

  • Speaker

    Sharon Marcus

    Orlando Harriman Professor of English and Comparative Literature

    Columbia University

  • Speaker

    Leslie Jamison

    Assistant Professor of Writing, Nonfiction Concentration Director

    Columbia University School of the Arts

  • Speaker

    Howard Tinberg

    Professor of English

    Bristol Community College

  • Chair

    Jean Howard

    George Delacorte Professor in the Humanities

    Columbia University


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