Joanna Scutts


New York, NY

Joanna Scutts

History, feminism, books, art, cocktails


At home with our favorite characters

Susan Harlan’s Decorating a Room of One’s Own: Conversations on Interior Design with Miss Havisham, Jane Eyre, Victor Frankenstein, Elizabeth Bennet, Ishmael and Other Literary Notables is a singular delight for book nerds, design nerds, and anyone who, like me, happens to be both. The book lovingly spoofs interior design trends and celebrity profiles, illuminating the decorating choices and challenges faced by a host of well-known and obscure literary characters.
Curbed National Link to Story

Help Me! Author Marianne Power Read All the Self-help Books So You Don’t Have To

The day after New Year’s is dull and gray, and the whole of London looks like a late-stage hangover, muttering desperately about Dry January and other impossible resolutions. It’s a good day to meet with Marianne Power — a day very much like the morning almost exactly five years ago when she found herself poised above the murky, freezing water of the outdoor pond on Hampstead Heath, ready to take a swim.
Vulture Link to Story

FilmStruck Critic Alicia Malone Mourns the Service and Celebrates The Female Gaze

Lovers of the classic- and indie-film streaming service FilmStruck (a group that includes all of your favorite directors) will be familiar with the lively Australian host and critic Alicia Malone. Her passionate and erudite introductions and interviews, onscreen and on the FilmStruck podcast, were central to the recently (but maybe not permanently?)
Vulture Link to Story

The State of the Advice Column in 2018

The advice column ought to be a relic. It belongs to a time when local newspapers were a community’s main window on the world: before widespread therapy, and before Google was around to autocomplete our anxieties. Yet the advice column in the online era remains wildly popular, evolving in form and audience: from traditional Q&As to live chats and podcasts, there are now innumerable ways to share our dilemmas with the world or eavesdrop on other peoples’.
Medium Link to Story

It came from the sewers of London: the utterly disgusting (yet fascinating) fatberg

“We walk through life influenced by all sorts of weird stuff,” says “Letter of Recommendation” editor Willy Staley. His column in The New York Times Magazine offers a place to celebrate those obsessions, fascinations and private joys, in a tight 900 words.
Nieman Storyboard Link to Story

Meet the “Queen of Paris Cocktails”

“I think every American wants to end up in Paris,” says Forest Collins, explaining her own journey, thirteen years ago, from Seattle to the city of light. But back then, its myriad charms did not include a serious bar scene. “I spent a few years not drinking cocktails in Paris, because there were no cocktails in Paris — and the wine is so good that you can forget about them.”.
Tales of the Cocktail 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

Lauren Groff: 'I didn't want there to be extramarital sex'

Lauren Groff is having quite the week. Her new novel Fates and Furies, the follow-up to 2011’s well-received Arcadia, has already eclipsed its predecessor: since its release on Tuesday, it’s already been longlisted for the National Book award in fiction and is on Amazon’s top 20 bestseller list. For Groff, in the midst of a book tour, it’s been a surreal, sleepless, exhilarating burst into the light.
The Guardian Link to Story

The Uncanny Valley: A 1960s Architectural Experiment

Fifty years ago this year, a small gang of freshly minted architecture graduates decided to do something radical, something they'd been told they'd never actually do for themselves in the course of their careers: build a house with their own hands. It was the beginning of a modest revolution in the way that architecture and construction can coexist, and the launch of David Sellers's dizzying adventure of a career.
Curbed National Link to Story

Lizzie Skurnick: a passion for Young Adult fiction

Lizzie Skurnick is still unpacking her boxes of books in a new apartment in Jersey City when I visit her mid-summer. If the success of a publishing venture depends on enthusiasm, two-year-old Lizzie Skurnick Books should have no problem thriving.
The Guardian Link to Story

‘Wife Bonus’ Author: My Critics Hate Women

In an interview and an excerpt from her new book, Wednesday Martin discusses the rule-ridden, heirarchical world of the 1 percent on Manhattan’s Upper East Side. From the outside, the lives of the perfectly polished princesses of Manhattan’s Upper East Side might seem irrelevant to those of us who don’t hop between Aspen, Miami, and the Hamptons on private jets, or send our kids to elementary schools that cost as much as Harvard.
The Daily Beast Link to Story

Erik Larson: 'I want people to be able to sink into the past'

Since his breakout 2003 hit The Devil in the White City, newspaperman-turned-historian Erik Larson has cornered the market for smart nonfiction narratives that read like thrillers.
The Guardian 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