Four decades after Tom Wolfe coined the term “new journalism” and a decade after Robert Boynton hailed Susan Orlean, Jon Krakauer, and others as “new new journalists,” subjectivity in journalism is hot again. Five writers whose work sometimes straddles the line between memoir and journalism discuss where that line is, if it’s moved over the past years, what a personal perspective can bring to reporting—and what the legacies of Wolfe and other writers mean forty years into being “new.”
Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich's first book, The Fact of a Body: A Murder & A Memoir, is forthcoming in the US and internationally. An NEA Fellow and Harvard JD, her essays appear in The New York Times and Oxford American. She teaches at Grub Street and Harvard's Kennedy School of Government.
Jennifer Percy is the author of the nonfiction book Demon Camp, a New York TimesNotable Book. Her essays have appeared in Harper's, Esquire, the New Republic, and the New York Times Magazine, where she is a regular contributor.
Chris Feliciano Arnold is the author of The Third Bank of the River: Life and Death in the 21st Century Amazon. A 2014 NEA fellow, he has published fiction and journalism in Harper's, The Atlantic, Playboy, Outside, Sports Illustrated, The Los Angeles Times, and more.
José M Orduña is a graduate of the nonfiction writing program at the University of Iowa. His first book, The Weight of Shadows: A Memoir of Displacement is about race, class, and citizenship. It traces his experience as a first generation immigrant living in the United States.
Kerry Howley is the author of Thrown, a 2014 New York Times Notable Book, and an assistant professor in the nonfiction writing program at the University of Iowa. Her essays, short stories, and reportage have appeared in Granta, the Paris Review, Harper's, and New York Magazine.