New Pocket-Sized Long-Form Journalism Series From Pittsburgh-based Creative Nonfiction | Blogh

New Pocket-Sized Long-Form Journalism Series From Pittsburgh-based Creative Nonfiction

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Fans of in-depth articles with a literary bent have a new monthly fix. The Creative Nonfiction Foundation is supplementing its fine quarterly magazine and book-publishing projects with True Story, a monthly series of single stories in booklets about the dimensions of a large index card and selling for $3 each.

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The first issue, “Fruitland,” is New York Times features reporter Stephen Kurutz’s 41-page, 10,000-word account of an unlikely piece of buried pop-music treasure. In 1979, as teenagers, Donnie and Joe Emerson, brothers from remote rural Washington State, independently produced an album of original soul songs that decades later suddenly became a touchstone of contemporary hipster culture.

The record, Dreamin’ Wild, was discovered in a junk shop in 2008 and on its reissue by Light in the Attic Records became a cult favorite. The breakout hit, as it were, is the remarkable "Baby," feted — and even covered by — Ariel Pink.

Kurutz explores the record’s unlikely history, including Donnie’s musical education via tractor radio and the remarkable financial risks the boys’ father, a wheat farmer, took to back his sons’ musical aspirations. And Kurutz thoughtfully tracks the weird repercussions facing a middle-aged man who experiences overnight fame … for his 17-year-old self.

“Fruitland” began life as a shorter 2012 piece Kurutz wrote for the Times, and Creative Nonfiction found the long tell a good fit for its inaugural True Story. Kurutz, who lives in Brooklyn, is also author of the 2011 book Like a Rolling Stone: The Strange Life of a Tribute Band.

This past weekend, Creative Nonfiction feted the launch of True Story with a party at its new-this-year headquarters, a smartly renovated, two-story former artist’s studio in Bloomfield, half a block from the Penn Avenue arts corridor. (Look for upcoming events there like this Halloween reading.)

Creative Nonfiction bills itself, in the words of founder Lee Gutkind, as “the first literary magazine to be totally dedicated to the best literary nonfiction” (the organization also offers online writing courses). At the launch, Gutkind noted that only a handful of print outlets, including The New Yorker and Harper’s, still regularly offer outlets for the sort of long-form literary nonfiction True Story will spotlight.

True Story, supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts, is planned as a year-long series, though Creative Nonfiction staffers say they hope it continues beyond that. Annual subscriptions are available for $18; see here to order single copies, to subscribe or for more details.

Upcoming issues will feature new work by Steven Church, author of the forthcoming One With the Tiger: Sublime and Violent Encounters Between Animals and Humans (Soft Skull Press) and by Gabriela Denise Frank.

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