Amy E. Butcher

Associate Professor of English


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


Amy Butcher is an award-winning essayist and author of the forthcoming Mothertrucker (Little A Books, 2022), which in July 2019 was acquired by Makeready Films for film development with Primetime Emmy-winning Jill Soloway directing and Academy and Golden Globe-winning actress Julianne Moore in a starring role. In February of 2020, excerpts of Mothertrucker were  awarded an Individual Excellence Award by 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."

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. 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.

Additional essays have appeared recently 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. More recently, 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 forthcoming 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 earned notable distinctions in the Best American Essays series of 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018. 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.

In 2016, her New York Times op-ed, "Emoji Feminism," inspired Google engineers to create thirteen new female-empowered 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 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.

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. She has two rescue dogs, beautiful beasts, who often join her for office hours on campus.

Areas of Interest / Expertise

Contemporary American Essays, Flash Essays, Narrative Nonfiction, Travel Writing, Women's Literature, Experimental Essays

Faculty Advisor for The OWL, Ohio Wesleyan's student literary journal

Faculty Advisor for WCSA, Ohio Wesleyan's student government


"White Lives—And Bodies, Livelihoods, Joys And Traumas—Matter," Ohio Wesleyan University: From Our Perspective, June 2020

Mothertrucker, Little A/Topple Books, forthcoming 2022

"An Author Visits The Billy Ireland Cartoon Museum," Columbus Monthly, April 2020

"Flight Path," grand prize recipient in The Sonora Review's Flash Prose Contest judged by Nicole Walker

"Harvesting Irony in Alaska," The New York Times Opinion Pages, August 2019

"Consolation Puppies: A Graphic Essay," with Martha Park, Granta, October 2018

"Gun Violence: America's Great Common Denominator,Literary Hub, May 2018

"On Essaying The Violence Against 'Women These Days,'" Brevity Magazine, May 2018

"Women These Days," Brevity Magazine, May 2018

"MIA: The Liberal Men We Love," Literary Hub, March 2018

"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


Individual Excellence Award, Ohio Arts Council, February 2020

Grand Prize, The Sonora Review's Flash Essay Contest, December 2018

Recipient, Best Essays of 2018, Entropy Magazine, December 2018

Nomination, Pushcart Prize, Brevity Magazine, November 2018

Nomination, Best American Essays SeriesBrevity Magazine, November 2018

Notable Distinction, Best American Essays 2018, edited by Hilton Als

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

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