Katherine Scott Nelson (Scott, they/them) is an author of fiction and creative nonfiction. Scott has an MFA from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where they taught creative writing, served as the Assistant Fiction Editor and Assistant Nonfiction Editor of Ninth Letter, and participated in an international writers’ residency held in partnership with Sun Yat-sen University in Guangzhou, China. Their novella, Have You Seen Me, was published by the Chicago Center for Literature and Photography and was a finalist for the Lambda Literary Awards. Their short stories and essays have appeared in The Rumpus, Ninth Letter, Whiskey Island, Confrontation magazine, make/shift, and elsewhere. Scott grew up in the Chicago area and lives in southern California.

FEATURED ESSAY: Dinner and a Fight

“Katherine Scott Nelson’s extraordinary essay, “Dinner and a Fight,” recounts their past experience in the gig economy, working as a waiter and bartender at catering events in the Chicago area. It’s an insecure life of low pay, no insurance (though injuries lurk around every corner), and no future. Compounding these difficulties, Nelson, who is a nonbinary trans person pursuing gender transition, worked in a business where male and female boundaries are carefully marked. Yet throughout this essay Nelson displays a can-do brio, a stubborn slogging bravery, and even humor, which adds poignancy to the march of one grinding day after another. In these sudden, terrifying days of the coronavirus pandemic, the lives of the people you will read about here have become even more precarious, as our country’s shameful economic and healthcare inequality worsens in the crisis.”

—Philip Graham

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