Amy E. Butcher

Assistant Professor of English


B.A, Gettysburg College
M.F.A., University of Iowa


Amy Butcher is an award-winning essayist and author of Visiting Hours (Blue Rider Press/Penguin-Random House), a 2015 memoir that received praise and starred reviews from the New York Times Sunday Review of Books, NPR, The Star Tribune, Kirkus Reviews, Cosmopolitan and Glamour, among others. She earned her M.F.A. in Nonfiction from the University of Iowa. Prior to her position with Ohio Wesleyan, she served as a teaching fellow at the University of Iowa and as the 2012–2013 Olive B. O’Connor Creative Writing Fellow at Colgate University, where she led courses on advanced and experimental nonfiction forms.

Most recently, her work has been awarded grand prize in the 2016 Solas Awards' "Best Travel Writing" series, featured on BBC Radio and National Public Radio, selected for inclusion in Best Travel Writing 2016 and Beautiful Flesh: A Body of Essays, and awarded grand prize in the 2014 Iowa Review Awards for nonfiction as judged by David Shields. Her essays have been distinguished by the 2015, 2016 and 2017 Best American Essays series, twice nominated for Pushcart Prizes, and anthologized in The Best Travel Writing 2016, The Soul Of A Great Traveler, Writing True: The Art and Craft of Creative Nonfiction, The Best Of Vela, and Beautiful Flesh: A Body of Essays.

Her 2016 op-ed, "Emoji Feminism," published in The New York Times, inspired Google engineers to create thirteen new female-empowered emojis, accepted in July 2016 by the Unicode Emoji Subcommittee and included in software packaging on all smartphones internationally. In August 2017, these emojis were nominated as Design of the Year by the Design Museum in London, where they are on display alongside a hijab designed by Nike, Wolfgang Tillmans’ Remain Campaign for the Brexit referendum, a furniture line made from molten lava, a 3D printed self-driving bus, and items from Kanye West's clothing line, among other artifacts. Previous winners have included the 2012 Olympic Torch and Human Organs-on-Chips, a micro-device lined with living human cells to mimic the complex tissue structures of the human body.

Additional essays have appeared recently in Harper's, The New York Times "Modern Love," The New York Times Opinion Pages, The Washington Post, The Denver Post, The American Scholar, The Iowa Review, Guernica, Gulf Coast, Fourth Genre, and Brevity, among numerous other magazines and journals, and earned finalist distinctions in contests sponsored by Tupelo Quarterly, American Short Fiction, and Hunger Mountain, among others.

The recipient of grants and awards from Colgate University, the Vermont Studio Center, the Virginia Center for Creative Arts, the Kimmel Harding Nelson Center for the Arts, the Stanley Foundation for International Research, and Word Riot, Inc., she spends her summer teaching writing at the Iowa Summer Writing Festival and the award-winning Sitka Fine Arts Camp in Sitka, Alaska.

Areas of Interest / Expertise

Contemporary American Essays, Narrative Essays, Travel Writing, Literary Journalism


"The Trump Effect," Lit Hub, forthcoming

"Women These Days," Brevity Magazine, forthcoming

"Gradient," Brevity Magazine, May 2017

"Taking Shape," Beautiful Flesh: A Body of Essays, forthcoming from The Center for Literary Studies, University Press of Colorado

"Bare Necessities," Harper's Magazine, March 2017

"How The Depressed Find Solace On Yik Yak, Believe It Or Not," The New York Times Opinion Pages, March 2017

"What A Third-Grade Geography Lesson Taught Me About Women's Place In The World," The Washington Post, March 2017

"What I Learned From Visiting The Grave Of My Mom's Teenage Boyfriend," The Washington Post, January 2017

"Pokémon Go See The World In All Its Splendor," New York Times Sunday Review Op-Ed, July 2016

"Flight Behavior," The American Scholar, June 2016

"Emoji Feminism," New York Times Sunday Review Op-Ed, March 2016

Visiting Hours: A Memoir of Friendship and MurderBlue Rider Press/Penguin Random House, April 2015

"Reenacting," The Iowa Review, Winter 2015

"On The Road to 'The One,' Sometimes, A Rest Stop," New York Times Modern Love, October 2015


Notable Distinction, Best American Essays 2017, edited by Leslie Jamison

Nomination, Design of the Year, The Design Museum in London

Notable Distinction, Best American Essays 2016, edited by Jonathan Franzen

Grand Prize, "Best of Travel Writing 2016," The Solas Awards

Notable Distinction, Best American Essays 2015, edited by Ariel Levy

Grand Prize, The 2014 Iowa Review Award in Nonfiction, as judged by David Shields

Recipient, The 2012-2013 Olive B. O'Connor Creative Writing Fellowship, Colgate University

Recipient, Stanley Foundation for International Research Travel Grant


"Google 'Professional Women' Emojis Nominated for Design Of The Year," The Telegraph, August 2016

BBC's World Have Your Say, September 2016

BBC's Radio 5, May 2016

NPR's Weekend Edition, April 2015

WAMC's The Roundtable, April 2015

OWU Faculty Speakers Bureau Topics

The Writing Process

I³ 3-Minute Lecture