Editor Spotlight: Courtney Kersten

courtney kersten photoOur nonfiction editor for May and June is Courtney Kersten. She had a gorgeous essay in issue 2 (catching the theme for this  upcoming issue yet?).  Her work can also be found in DIAGRAM, River Teeth, The Master’s Review, The Sonora Review and elsewhere. She’s a Fulbright Fellow who studied theater in Riga, Latvia and currently studies writing in the University of Idaho’s MFA program where she’s at work on a memoir about astrology, grief, and codified social codes of the Midwest.
Why be an editor for the James Franco Review? 
I’ve been thinking about writing creative nonfiction and uncertainty/anxiety a lot lately—specifically, anxieties regarding someone’s “credibility” or, really, “permission” to tell a story given their age, gender, race, class, etc. felt by the writers themselves in the act of writing. While I can only speak for the anxieties I feel, I suspect that given my experiences during conferences, classes, and conversations with my peers that I am, perhaps, not alone in these thoughts. I hope that spaces like The James Franco Review can alleviate some of this uncertainty by honoring the uniqueness of everyone’s voice and experience—and to know that these voices can be treated just like James Franco. I hope that spaces like this let us charge into the uncertainty of writing itself and truly essay without fear of snickering (both internal and external) about being too young or too old or too whatever to write what you want to write.
What have you read lately that’s excited you? 
Some fantastic things I’ve read recently:
Melanie Hoffert’s Prarie Silence 
David Trinidad’s Peyton Place: A Haiku Soap Opera
Karrie Higgins’ essays, such as this one:
On a craft perspective, there are a bunch of inspiring essays in The Far Edges of the Fourth Genre: An Anthology of Explorations in Creative Nonfiction edited by Sean Prentiss and Joe Wilkins.
Are you ready? Essayists, I know you’re out there and excited. Send Courtney your work.