Writers from across the nation—each with a Pittsburgh connection —cover topics from stripper’s work to West Virginia’s famed Matewan shootout, and Atlantic City’s Boardwalk before Donald Trump. Contributors incl. Annie Dillard, Diane Ackerman, Stewart O’ Nan, & a photo essay on photographer Charles “Teenie” Harris.
Lee Gutkind has performed as a clown for Ringling Brothers, scrubbed with heart and liver transplant surgeons, traveled with a crew of National League Baseball umpires, and wandered the country on a motorcycle--all as research for eight books and numerous profiles and essays. He is the author of An Unspoken Art, a Book-of-the-Month Club Selection, The Best Seat in Baseball, But You Have to Stand!, and the editor of A View From the Divide: Creative Nonfiction on Health and Science. Gutkind, founder and editor of Creative Nonfiction, is also the editor for the Emerging Writers in Creative Nonfiction book series, serves as director for the Mid-Atlantic Creative Nonfiction Writers' Conference at Goucher College in Baltimore, and is a professor of English at the University of Pittsburgh. He lives in Pittsburgh.
“Lee Gutkind’s Lessons in Persuasion not only honors the city of Pittsburgh, it reinforces through its wide-ranging and uniformly brilliant selections the notion—too often forgotten—that place, after family, is the second cradle of language, and that writers write best when they draw on the energies of their formation.”—Sven Birkerts
“Lessons in Persuasion is an eclectic and far-ranging anthology, diverse in form, style, and content—spanning the genre’s full spectrum—including memory recollections, charter profiles, and reportage, as well as reflections on place, writing, and the writing life. This is an engaging, readable collection of voices.”—Michael Steinberg
Pittsburgh has always been—despite its industrial reputation—a great city in which to be a writer. Its active, close-knit writing community has seen the rise of several luminaries with Pittsburgh connections, such as Annie Dillard and Stewart O’Nan, and the caliber of Pittsburgh’s writing community today is better than ever. Lee Gutkind has assembled a reunion of sorts with writers from across the nation, as well as the up-and-coming stars on the local scene—each of whom has a Pittsburgh connection. Many grew up in the region, others attended college here: all of them have an association with the city. The resulting collection of essays is both gentle and jarring, eclectic and persuasive, covering a range of topics—from a stripper’s work ethic to West Virginia’s famed Matewan shootout, Atlantic City’s Boardwalk before Donald Trump, and the uses of poetry to better understand one’s own life. Although Pittsburgh is not the subject of most of the essays, these writers are bound by their affinity for the written word and their collective fondness for Pittsburgh.