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Four Essays Published by Prairie Schooner Named “Notable” in The Best American Essays 2016

Best New Essays 2016

by Danielle Pringle


Best American Essays 2016 (Mariner), edited by Jonathan Franzen, launched this week, including in its list of “notable” essays four pieces that appeared in Prairie Schooner. The annual anthology celebrates the best essays from the past year published by magazines, journals, and websites in the United States. Included with the essays selected for this collection, is a supplemental list of “notable” essays.

Lisa Fay Coutley’s “Why to Run Racks” appeared in our Winter 2015 issue, which was edited by Natalie Diaz.  The beautifully crafted essay peeks into volatile family dynamics and considers the sport of shooting pool as a meditative practice. Read it on Coutley’s website here.

Porochista Khakpour’s whip-smart study of David Foster Wallace, Federer, and personal descent—whether physically losing an edge or being lost in one’s own mind—“Federer as Irreligious Experience,” highlights the downfalls of perfectionism. Her essay also appeared in our Winter 2015 issue. Read an excerpt of it on our website here.

Aurvi Sharma’s transporting “Eleven Stories of Water and Stone” won our 2014 nonfiction prize, judged by Judith Ortiz Cofer, and was published in our Spring 2015 issue. It also received our of our annual Glenna Luschei awards, which honor the best work published in Prairie Schooner in a given year. The essay takes the reader on a journey to the formation of the rock Sharma’s home in India rested upon, and through her childhood, seamlessly shifting from one to the other and examining greater implications of stone and water in India. Read an excerpt on our website here.

Emily Geminder’s “Coming To: A Lexicology of Fainting,” published in our Summer 2015 issue, was the 2014 nonfiction runner-up and also won a Glenna Luschei award. This braided lyric essay interrogates both personal and historical cultural perceptions of the haunting phenomenon of fainting. From Cambodia, to India, to the United States, Geminder offers glimpses of ghosts and specters. Read an excerpt of her essay here.

Once again, congratulations to all of the writers whose work was chosen to be in this year’s Best American Essays, and an extra shout out to those four “notables” whose essays appeared in our pages!


Danielle Pringle was born and raised in Lincoln, Nebraska, and is currently pursuing an MA in creative writing with a secondary focus in Medieval & Renaissance studies at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.