Joanna Scutts


New York, NY

Joanna Scutts

History, feminism, books, art, cocktails


The Death of FilmStruck Is a Dark Day in the History of Movies

As Warner gears up to face down Disney with its direct-to-consumer streaming service, launching next year, it’s clear that the company has no interest in catering to passionate fans of its back catalog, only in chasing the largest possible audience for its new releases. What’s not clear is why it has to be a zero-sum game, and why efforts at preservation and education have to be eliminated in order to chase the biggest possible audience and present them with a library far broader than it is deep.

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

'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

Rock 'n' roll queens: anthology pays homage to renegade women

“Were there women setting their guitars on fire, like Hendrix?”. That’s what playwright Dael Orlandersmith wanted to know when she discovered rock ’n’ roll at 10 years old, at the tail end of the 1960s. This angry, dangerous sound she loved was completely unlike the R&B, reggae and blue-eyed soul that blasted on Saturday nights in her Spanish Harlem neighborhood.
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

The 'Proustian orgasm' of memoir writing

“The only thing I thought I knew how to do was to use an image and then leap away from it,” the Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Tracy K Smith said on Thursday at a panel on memoir held as part of the PEN World Voices Festival, describing the challenge of shifting from poetry to prose.
The Guardian Link to Story

Writers imagine the future

What will the world look like in 2050? For the opening night celebration of its weeklong World Voices festival last night, PEN American Center asked 10 writers, including Tom Stoppard, Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o, and Mona Eltahawy to predict the future.
The Guardian Link to Story

Value of the creative writing degree defended at the Comic-Con of MFAs

More than 11,000 writers, publishers, students, teachers and dreamers thronged the Minneapolis convention center last week for the annual conference of the Association of Writers and Writing Programs. They were there to read, debate, promote and, most importantly, network at back-to-back parties.
The Guardian Link to Story

The Few, the Proud, the Independent Bookstores

Contending first with the chains and more recently with Amazon, independent booksellers find survival tough but not impossible and lately new stores are thriving.
The Daily Beast Link to Story

Who owns an author's books?

If this week’s dramatically swerving Harper Lee story has shown us anything –beyond the need for clear eldercare guidelines – it’s that the ownership and authorship of great American novels are fraught with controversy. Happily, Lee is, as she reassured us yesterday in a follow-up statement to the press, “alive and kicking”.
The Guardian Link to Story

To Kill a Literary Legacy?

Almost immediately after the stunning news broke yesterday morning that we might get to read a sequel to To Kill a Mockingbird, the story started to take an unsettling turn. In response to the question of whether the manuscript had been edited, Van Dusen replied, “If it has been, nobody’s told me.”.
DAME Magazine Link to Story

Ai-jen Poo’s ‘The Age of Dignity’ Is a Wake-up Call

Even if the elder boom doesn’t transform us overnight into a newly compassionate community, it may at least push us to face up to what’s coming, for our parents and for us.
In These Times 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