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The Best of Brevity: Twenty Groundbreaking Years of Flash Nonfiction

ISBN: 9781941628232
Binding: Paperback
Editors: Zoë Bossiere & Dinty W. Moore
Pages: 276
Trim: 5.5 x 8 inches
Published: 11/17/2020

How much of the human experience can fit into 750 words? A lot, it turns out. Since its founding in 1997, Brevity: A Journal of Concise Literary Nonfiction has published hundreds of brief nonfiction essays by writers around the world, each within that strict word count. Over the past 20 years, Brevity has become one of the longest-running and most popular online literary publications, a journal readers regularly return to for insightful essays from skilled writers at every stage of their careers. Featuring examples of nonfiction forms such as memoir, narrative, lyric, braided, hermit crab, and hybrid, The Best of Brevity brings you 84 of the best-loved and most memorable reader favorites, collected in print for the first time. Compressed to their essence, these essays glint with drama, grief, love, and anger, as well as innumerable other lived intensities, resulting in an anthology that is as varied as it is unforgettable, leaving the reader transformed.

With contributions from Krys Malcolm Belc, Jenny Boully, Brian Doyle, Roxane Gay, Daisy Hernández, Michael Martone, Ander Monson, Patricia Park, Kristen Radtke, Diane Seuss, Abigail Thomas, Jia Tolentino, and so many more, The Best of Brevity offers unparalleled diversity of style, form, and perspective for those interested in reading, writing, or teaching the flash nonfiction form.


Zoë Bossiere is a doctoral candidate at Ohio University, with a dual concentration in creative writing and rhetoric and composition. She is managing editor of Brevity: A Journal of Concise Literary Nonfiction and a podcast host for the New Books Network's Literature channel, where she interviews authors about their debut books of nonfiction. Her writing has been published in Guernica, The Rumpus, North Dakota Quarterly, and Essay Daily, among other places.

Dinty W. Moore is the author of the memoir Between Panic & Desire, winner of the Grub Street Nonfiction Book Prize. His other books include The Accidental Buddhist, Toothpick Men, The Emperor's Virtual Clothes, Dear Mister Essay Writer Guy, and The Mindful Writer: Noble Truths of the Writing Life. Additionally, Moore edited The Rose Metal Press Field Guide to Writing Flash Nonfiction: Advice and Essential Exercises from Respected Writers, Editors, and Teachers, an anthology of craft essays and writing prompts that works well alongside the essays here in The Best of Brevity. He has published his work in The Georgia Review, Harper's, The New York Times Magazine, The Iowa Review, and elsewhere. He is editor-in-chief of Brevity: A Journal of Concise Literary Nonfiction, and has taught writing workshops across the United States as well as in Mexico, Scotland, Ireland, Spain, Switzerland, and Canada.


"The Best of Brevity feels like the condensed energy of a coiled spring. A vibrant collection, dynamic in its exploration and celebration of the flash form." - Karen Babine, author of All the Wild Hungers: A Season of Cooking and Cancer

"'I didn't have time to write a short letter, so I wrote a long one instead,' Mark Twain has said. But the writers who have contributed to The Best of Brevity: Twenty Groundbreaking Years of Flash Nonfiction took the time and made the effort. Dinty W. Moore, a pioneer of flash and the founding editor of Brevity, and his colleague Zoë Bossiere, have put together a marvelous collection of magic moments and concise ideas that will intrigue, delight, and inspire readers and writers. Each piece is an all-consuming instant, a thought-provoking breath of enlightenment and surprise. These flashes illustrate the power, versatility, and potential of the creative nonfiction genre." - Lee Gutkind, editor and founder, Creative Nonfiction Magazine

"The immersive effect of reading this anthology straight through is the opposite of a flash experience, and is also lovely, like rolling down a sidewalk of lit windows. A 2-year-old nestles with a bear, drunken men fight in the street, 30-foot stone heads sit on Easter Island. So much beauty, so much grief — the whole range of experience flashing by, leaving impressions as it passes." - Lori Soderlind, for The New York Times Book Review

"In this marvelous, diverse anthology, Brevity editors Moore and Bossiere collect the literary journal's best nonfiction pieces, none longer than 750 words. Readers will find some familiar names, including Roxane Gay and Jia Tolentino, but also gems from lesser-known writers. [...] This collection will be an asset to writing teachers and students, and a joy to essay fans." - Publishers Weekly Starred Review