on essaying in the U.K.
curated by Elizabeth Reeder
featuring Carol Mavor, Jacques Testard, and Max Porter
with an afterword by Kristen Kreider

Hover your cursor over the embedded chapbook and press “Click to Read” to view the chapbook full size. It may take several seconds for the chapbook to load. For readers who want to keep a digital copy of this chapbook or who are reading on iPads, feel free to download this PDF.
These conversations grew out of a curiosity about the possibilities of the hybridity of the essay and from a shared interest in how the essay and essay-publishing are working in the U.K. In this Listening Tour, relative strangers utilize the opportunity of an unexpected conversation to attempt to capture the fleeting, often excessive and heightened movement of essays – considering a wide range of topics, from triptychs and pretention to Barthes and post-partum art. Here essayists, editors and publishers think out loud about form and context and try to handle this slippery, digressive, cunning, non-genre genre.
“I was thinking about experimentalism in the novel somehow being a permission-giver for other forms. Think of some greats like Alice Oswald’s Memorial or Christopher Logue’s War Music and how if they weren’t about war, they wouldn’t be as effective. It’s the subject that coats the pill of experimentalism.”
KRISTEN KREIDER is a Professor of Fine Art and Director of the PhD Program at Goldsmiths, University of London. Kristen’s research is situated at a crossover between writing, art, and architecture. She works in collaboration with the architect James O’Leary as Kreider + O’Leary. Her books include Poetics & Place: The Architecture of Sign, Subjects and Site, Falling, and Field Poetics (forthcoming, Eros Press, 2016).
CAROL MAVOR has published five books. The most recent monograph is Blue Mythologies: Reflections on a Colour. Her Reading Boyishly was named by Turner Prize-winner Grayson Perry in The Guardian as his 2008 “Book of the Year.” Her newest visual-culture project, Aurelia: Art and Literature Through the Eyes and Mouth of the Fairy Tale, is forthcoming from Reaktion in 2017.
MAX PORTER trained as an art historian. He is now Senior Editor at Granta Books and Portobello Books in London. He is the author of Grief is the Thing with Feathers, which was published by Faber & Faber in 2015 and will be translated into 15 languages.
ELIZABETH REEDER, originally from Chicago, lives in Scotland, and is the author of two critically acclaimed novels, Ramshackle and Fremont. Her stories and experimental essays are widely published and broadcast. One Year, a digital chapbook of her lyric essays, is published by Essay Press. She teaches Creative Writing at the University of Glasgow. She is on twitter.
JACQUES TESTARD is the publisher of Fitzcarraldo Editions, and co-founder and editor of The White Review.




  • ep09lazarcover6nodogear
  • ep10benonicover
  • ep13chapmancover
  • ep14borsukchapcover
  • ep17languellcoverE
  • ep18smithcover
  • ep21harringtonltcover2
  • ep22HIXLTcover4
  • ep25magiLTcover1_revision
  • ep26magiLTcover2
  • ep29_fleischmanLTcover
  • ep30_PinkmountainLTcover
  • ep33_donovanLTcover
  • ep34_perezLTcover
  • ep37hixLTcover
  • ep38rexiliusLTcover
  • ep41beckwithEPcoverfinal72dpi
  • ep42schwartzlt3coverwhite72dpi
  • ep45hixltcoverdecember201572dpi
  • ep46pagelEPcover72dpi
  • ep77Trigiliocover
  • ep80reedercover
  • ep84borsukcover

Essay Press is pleased to announce the two winners of the 2016 Essay Press Open Book Contest judged by Carla Harryman: Litany for the Long Moment by Mary-Kim Arnold and Of Sphere by Karla Kelsey, which will be published in Fall 2017.