Amy Butcher

Director of Creative Writing
Associate Professor of English

Education

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

About

Amy Butcher is an award-winning essayist and author of, most recently, Mothertrucker, a book that interrogates the realities of female fear, abusive relationships, and America’s quiet epidemic of intimate partner violence set against the geography of remote, northern Alaska. The book earned critical praise from Publisher’s Weekly, Kirkus Reviews, The Wall Street Journal, Good Morning America, CBS News, NPR’s All Sides Weekend, The Chicago Review of Books, The Oxford Review of Books, The Washington Independent Review of Books, Booklist, and others. The Wall Street Journal called Mothertrucker “a rattling good story” that is “shot through with poignant insights.” Publisher’s Weekly wrote that the book is “tender and gripping,” writing, “[Mothertrucker] explores myriad issues with nuance and grace, including Indigenous rights, violence against women, religious hypocrisy, and environmental concerns.” Kirkus Reviews called the book “a searching and deeply empathetic memoir,” writing, “[Mothertrucker] is a sobering reflection on verbal and psychological abuse [that] honors the healing power of female friendship and questions the nature of divinity beyond its constricting patriarchal manifestations.” The Washington Independent Review of Books wrote that Mothertrucker is “a meditation on what it means to be a woman in this country” and “a master class in the power of brutally honest writing.” Excerpts of Mothertrucker also won an Individual Excellence Award from the Ohio Arts Council, with judges calling the book “well researched,” “very well-written,” and “a positive antidote to the trauma of violence against women.” In July 2019, Mothertrucker was optioned by Makeready Films for film development with Primetime Emmy-winning Joey Soloway directing and Academy and Golden Globe-winning actress Julianne Moore in a starring role. In February 2020, Golden Globe nominee Beanie Feldstein signed on to play Amy.

Her first book, Visiting Hours (Blue Rider Press/Penguin-Random House, 2015), 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.

In 2016, her New York Times op-ed, “Emoji Feminism,” inspired Google engineers to create thirteen new “female-empowered” professional emojis, accepted 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 were on display alongside a hijab designed by Nike, Wolfgang Tillmans’ Remain Campaign for the Brexit referendum, a furniture line made from molten lava, and a 3D printed self-driving bus, 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.

Her additional essays have appeared in Granta, 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, Lit Hub, Guernica, Gulf Coast, Fourth Genre, and Brevity, among numerous other magazines and journals. Her 2018 essay, “Women These Days,” was listed as a Best Of 2018 essay by Entropy Magazine and nominated for a Pushcart Prize and for inclusion in the Best American Essays series by the editors at Brevity Magazine, and her essay “Flight Path” was awarded grand prize in The Sonora Review’s flash prose contest by guest judge Nicole Walker. Additional recent work has been featured on BBC Radio and National Public Radio, anthologized in The Best Of Brevity: Twenty Groundbreaking Years of Flash Nonfiction and Beautiful Flesh: A Body of Essays, and awarded grand prize in the 2016 Solas Awards’ “Best Travel Writing” series and the 2014 Iowa Review Awards as judged by David Shields. Her essays have also been awarded notable distinctions in the Best American Essays series of 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2020, and 2021. Additional essays have twice been nominated for Pushcart Prizes and anthologized in Best Travel Writing 2016, The Best of Vela, Writing True: The Art and Craft of Creative Nonfiction, and The Soul Of A Great Traveler. Additional work has earned finalist distinctions in contests sponsored by Tupelo Quarterly, American Short Fiction, and Hunger Mountain, 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 Olive B. O’Connor Creative Writing Fellow at Colgate University, where she led courses on advanced and experimental nonfiction forms. She is the recipient of grants and awards from the Ohio Arts Council, the Vermont Studio Center, the Virginia Center for Creative Arts, the Kimmel Harding Nelson Center for the Arts, the Stanley Foundation for International Research, Colgate University, and Word Riot, Inc., and spends her summers teaching writing at the Iowa Summer Writing Festival and the award-winning Sitka Fine Arts Camp in Sitka, Alaska. She has two rescue dogs, beautiful beasts, who often join her for office hours on campus.

Areas of Interest / Expertise

  • Contemporary American Essays
  • Feature Writing
  • Literary Journalism
  • Flash Essays
  • Feminist Literature
  • Narrative Nonfiction
  • Travel Writing

University Service

  • i3 Lecturer, "In The Extinguishing of a Spirit, Our Responsibility To Ignite A Light: On Breonna Taylor and Chanel Miller," Fall 2022
  • Guest Speaker, Take Back The Night, Fall 2022
  • Diversity & Equity Fellow
  • Elected Faculty Representative on the Committee on Women and Gender
  • Faculty Advisor for the Creative Writing Club
  • Faculty Advisor for The OWL, Ohio Wesleyan’s student literary journal
  • Faculty Advisor for the Rockclimbing Club
  • Faculty Advisor for Pitch Black, Ohio Wesleyan’s all-female a capella group
  • Faculty Advisor for Kappa Kappa Gamma
  • Student-Elected i3 Lecturer, "Welcoming 11 New Professional Female Emojis," Fall 2016

Publications

Awards

Interviews