May 24, 2021

Gina Nutt and Elissa Washuta

Harvard Book Store's virtual event series welcomes acclaimed writers GINA NUTT and ELISSA WASHUTA for a discussion of their new essay collections, Night Rooms and White Magic. They will be joined in conversation by KIRSTEN REACH, Fiction Editor of the Kenyon Review.


“In a horror movie, an infected character may hide a bite or rash, an urge, an unwellness. She might withdraw or act out, or behave as if nothing is the matter, nothing has happened. Any course of action opposite saying how she feels suggests suffering privately is preferable to the anticipated betrayal of being cast out.”

Night Rooms is a poetic, intimate collection of personal essays that weaves together fragmented images from horror films and cultural tropes to meditate on anxiety and depression, suicide, body image, identity, grief, and survival.

Whether competing in shopping mall beauty pageants, reflecting on childhood monsters and ballet lessons, or recounting dark cultural ephemera while facing grief and authenticity in the digital age, Gina Nutt’s shifting style echoes the sub-genres that Night Rooms highlights—spirit-haunted slow burns, possession tales, slashers, and revenge films with a feminist bent.

Refracting life through the lens of horror films, Night Rooms masterfully leaps between reality and movies, past and present—because the “final girl’s” story is ultimately a survival story told another way.

About Author(s)

Elissa Washuta is a member of the Cowlitz Indian Tribe and a nonfiction writer. She is the author of the books White MagicStarvation Mode, and My Body Is a Book of Rules, named a finalist for the Washington State Book Award. With Theresa Warburton, she is co-editor of the anthology Shapes of Native Nonfiction: Collected Essays by Contemporary Writers. She is an assistant professor of creative writing at the Ohio State University.

Gina Nutt is the author of the poetry collection Wilderness Champion. She earned her MFA from Syracuse University. Her writing has appeared in Cosmonauts AvenueJoylandNinth Letter, and other publications. Night Rooms is her debut essay collection.

Kirsten Reach is Fiction Editor at the Kenyon Review. Before this, she was an editor at Melville House, Grand Central Publishing, and Henry Holt & Company. She specialized in debut fiction and narrative nonfiction, working with award-winning authors such as Lynne Truss, Philip Hoare, and Hilary Mantel. She has also worked for the Gaea Foundation and the Institute for the Future of the Book, studying the ways reading is changing from page to screen.