Joanna Scutts


New York, NY

Joanna Scutts

History, feminism, books, art, cocktails


Altered states of storytelling at the L.A. Times Festival of Books

The L.A. Times Book Festival, held over the weekend of April 21-22, is an annual celebration of reading and literary culture in a town often stereotyped as not exactly bookish. But Hollywood runs on stories, so this year the festival debuted a new strand of programming, Newstory, to lead visitors “beyond the book” and showcase innovations in a variety of media — from music to podcasting to virtual reality — and to grapple with the meaning, and future, of storytelling.
Nieman Storyboard Link to Story

Helen Gurley Brown: Cosmo editor's quest for glamour, sex and power

At a Brooklyn event, the biographer of the era-defining editor of Cosmopolitan discussed her subject’s strengths and foibles, as well as her feminism
The Guardian Link to Story

'Storytelling isn't a game to me'

“I was absolutely surprised,” Adam Johnson says emphatically, to the admittedly indelicate question of whether his win on Wednesday night at the National Book awards was a little unexpected. The morning after, Johnson is still heaping praise on them. “I was among a group of really talented young writers who are doing important work – large, sweeping work,” he says.
The Guardian Link to Story

Immigration, Dislocation, and the Search for Home

The Australian novelist Christos Tsiolkas, author of the bestselling 2009 novel The Slap, has had a disorienting week. It’s Monday evening in Paris, and he’s just arrived from Switzerland, where he spent the weekend at a literary festival discussing the ongoing economic turmoil in Greece. The news in Europe is full of stories, images, protests and debates about the escalating Syrian refugee crisis.
Literary Hub Link to Story

Windham-Campbell prizes: literary awards open up with international gaze

“I’m getting rather overheated reading this,” said the New Yorker’s theatre critic Hilton Als apologetically, mopping his brow with a handkerchief. He was describing the adventures of the European literary theorists Michel Foucault and Roland Barthes, as they lost “their collective minds” in New York’s multiracial downtown gay scene of the 1980s: a scene in which Als himself came of age.
The Guardian Link to Story

Stop and hear the poetry: spoken words beckon to bustling New York City

If you haven’t heard of the now-extinct platypus frog, Jenny Johnson is prepared explain why she had to put it in a poem. “The female had the ability to transform her stomach into a womb. Then she would swallow her own eggs and after several weeks, birth fully formed froglets out of her mouth. It’s amazing!”.
The Guardian Link to Story

Text and the city

“You guys wanna talk about sex?”. Jami Attenberg teased the crowd at Monday night’s Books Beneath the Bridge reading series in Brooklyn Bridge Park. But the mostly female audience was more interested in discussing questions of perennial interest to New Yorkers – the city’s history, its inspiration for writers, and how hard it is to get a date in this town.
The Guardian Link to Story

Indie Bookstores Are Finally Not Dying

Booksellers joining in on the first Independent Bookstore Day this month showed the sort of smarts and energy that help them survive the chains and Amazon. A little girl wearing fairy wings twirled in a photo booth rigged up next to the New Releases table. Across town, a bookseller set cans of beer, donated from a local brewery, to chill in a tub of ice.
The Daily Beast Link to Story


Joanna Scutts

I'm a historian, critic, and curator based in Astoria, New York (not far from the Hellgate Bridge, above.) My first book, THE EXTRA WOMAN: HOW MARJORIE HILLIS LED A GENERATION OF WOMEN TO LIVE ALONE AND LIKE IT, was published in November 2017 by Liveright/W.W. Norton. It tells the story of a forgotten 1930s lifestyle guru and the world of self-help and women's independence in mid-century America.
Most recently I was the inaugural Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in Women's History at the New-York Historical Society, where I helped open the first dedicated Center for Women's History in an American museum.
My work has appeared in the Washington Post, New Republic, Guardian US,, New Yorker online, In These Times, Daily Beast, the Nation, and the Wall Street Journal. I hold a Ph.D. in English and Comparative Literature from Columbia University and have taught literature and writing at Columbia, Barnard College, and NYU's Gallatin School.
Agent: Kate Johnson, MacKenzie Wolf.



  • Teaching
  • Copy Editing
  • Editing
  • Writing