Paperback / softback
June 28, 2019
9.00 Inches (US)
6.00 Inches (US)
.85 Pounds (US)
$29.95 USD, £22.99 GBP
v2.1 Reference
June 28, 2019
9.00 Inches (US)
6.00 Inches (US)
1.15 Pounds (US)
$105.00 USD, £76.00 GBP
v2.1 Reference

Shapes of Native Nonfiction

Collected Essays by Contemporary Writers

Just as a basket's purpose determines its materials, weave, and shape, so too is the purpose of the essay related to its material, weave, and shape. Editors Elissa Washuta and Theresa Warburton ground this anthology of essays by Native writers in the formal art of basket weaving. Using weaving techniques such as coiling and plaiting as organizing themes, the editors have curated an exciting collection of imaginative, world-making lyric essays by twenty-seven contemporary Native writers from tribal nations across Turtle Island into a well-crafted basket.

Shapes of Native Nonfiction features a dynamic combination of established and emerging Native writers, including Stephen Graham Jones, Deborah Miranda, Terese Marie Mailhot, Billy-Ray Belcourt, Eden Robinson, and Kim TallBear. Their ambitious, creative, and visionary work with genre and form demonstrate the slippery, shape-changing possibilities of Native stories. Considered together, they offer responses to broader questions of materiality, orality, spatiality, and temporality that continue to animate the study and practice of distinct Native literary traditions in North America.

About the Authors

Elissa Washuta (Cowlitz) is assistant professor of creative writing at the Ohio State University. Theresa Warburton is a Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in American studies and English at Brown University and assistant professor of English at Western Washington University.


"The first collection of Native nonfiction organized with the explicit intent of highlighting Native writing as world-making. This book offers us nonfiction that reflects, interrogates, critiques, imagines, prays, screams, and complicates simplistic notions about Native peoples and Native lives."—Malea Powell, professor and chair, Department of Writing, Rhetoric, and American Cultures, and faculty in American Indian and Indigenous studies, Michigan State University

"Shapes of Native Nonfiction is exciting, fresh, and profound. It provides the space for native nonfiction to be indigenous, without the pressure to "perform" indigeneity. The writing gets to be weird, joyful, wounded, flip, deep, unflinching, terrified, and secure. Expression over cultural expectation. I turn to it and return to it, delighted each time."—Tommy Pico

"In this anthology, shape matters. It turns the essay into a resistant form, pushing against the myth of the 'disappearing Native' and asserting a new narrative, one that isn't subject to colonizing. . . . Shapes of Native Nonfiction is full of cognitive and emotional work. It turns the essay into something alive and breathing."—Cincinnati Review

"The medium is the message in this formally daring anthology of essays from Native writers, organized into basket-weaving themes such as 'coiling' and 'plaiting.' In these 27 essays by writers hailing from multiple tribal nations, some established and some newcomers, the Native experience is interrogated, elucidated, and celebrated."—Esquire

"It's not hard to imagine this work as a staple of creative writing course syllabi for years to come. A must for any library."—Library Journal

"In gathering contemporary Native nonfiction, this book elucidates the roots of the form-conscious essay and brings together the exciting current work of Native writers. In a sweeping decolonizing gesture, this anthology challenges the nonfiction canon as it's been taught and creates a porous new space in its place."—Essay Daily

"Shapes of Native Nonfiction is. . . an accessible, engaging book, both for those who have read widely on the subject and for those seeking a place to begin."—New York Journal of Books

"The volume seems to be the work of a master weaver expertly managing the warp and weft of the threads—everything in its place, everything serving its purpose. These vibrant essays and writings acknowledge the wounds of the past but are not confined or defined by them. Rather, the contributors, who include Siku Allooloo, Natanya Ann Pulley, Ernestine Hayes, Chip Livingston, and Michael Wasson, narrate a living, dynamic future."—Choice

"This new collection of essays from established and emerging contemporary Indigenous writers is stunning both in depth and scope. . . . The collection, expertly curated and structured by writer and Cowlitz Indian Tribe member Elissa Washuta (whose incredible essay Apocalypse Logic also appears here) and literary scholar Theresa Warburton, shines in every piece and in its existence as a whole. . . . In these pages, storytelling is a way of developing new Native nonfiction literary possibility."—Literary Hub

"Shapes of Native Nonfiction introduces the reader to a unique collection of voices, telling stories that shift from lost to living language, from history to lived experience. These shifts create new shapes for Indigenous writers to inhabit, explore and share. In this anthology, that shaping makes for a powerful read, and an absolutely necessary one."—High Country News

"A veritable feast of First Nations and Native American writers that readers may otherwise never have discovered."—World Literature Today (WLT)

"In this far-ranging collection of essays, Indigenous writers explore family, home, landscape, identity, trauma, history, and memory. Some of the essays are about writing itself. Others tell stories about particular experiences or moments. Still others are more outwardly focused, exploring art, culture, and politics. Part of what makes this book so unique is the various innovative forms the essays take."—Book Riot


9780295745756 : shapes-of-native-nonfiction-washuta-warburton
Paperback / softback
280 Pages
$29.95 USD
9780295745763 : shapes-of-native-nonfiction-washuta-warburton
280 Pages
$105.00 USD

Other Titles by Elissa Washuta

The Lyric Essay as Resistance

edited by Zoë Bossiere, Erica Trabold, with contributions by Aisha Sabatini Sloan, Camellia-Berry Grass, Chelsea Biondolillo, Chloe Garcia Roberts, Danielle Geller, Elissa Washuta, Hea-Ream Lee, Jennifer S. Cheng, Jenny Boully, Jessica...
Mar 2023 - Wayne State University Press
$24.99 USD - Paperback / softback

Other Titles in LITERARY COLLECTIONS / Native American

We Live Here

Lois Beardslee, foreword by Molly McGlennen
Sep 2024 - Wayne State University Press
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Cherokee Earth Dwellers

Christopher B. Teuton, Hastings Shade, with Loretta Shade, Larry Shade, illustrated by MaryBeth Timothy
Mar 2023 - University of Washington Press
$34.95 USD - Paperback / softback

In the Current Where Drowning Is Beautiful

Abigail Chabitnoy
Nov 2022 - Wesleyan University Press
$25.00 USD - Hardback
$15.95 USD - Paperback / softback
$12.99 USD - Electronic book text