Our Residents

Meet the PlySpace Residents of past and future!

Abby Manzella - 2018 Fall Resident


Abigail G. H. Manzella writes creative nonfiction and has received scholarships and fellowships for places such as the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference and Arizona State University’s Institute for Humanities Research. Trained in both literary scholarship and creative writing, she has taught at the University of Missouri, Yeshiva University, Centre College, Tufts, and the University of Virginia. Some of her essays and other writing have appeared in places such as The Rumpus, The Millions, Bust, The Kenyon Review, and Middlebury Magazine, and her scholarly book Migrating Fictions: Gender, Race, and Citizenship in U.S. Internal Migrations was released in January from The Ohio State University Press. While at PlySpace, she will be working on her book project Burning Through History.

Burning Through History is a book of creative nonfiction that will engage with Abby’s personal experiences growing up in Pennsylvania while also addressing the role of fire in the state and nation’s understanding of itself from its very foundation. Fire is used to knock down some while helping others to rise from the ashes. Utilizing her knowledge of American history and the personal essay, she asks how this most dangerous of natural elements reveals the nation and the individuals that we are. She looks forward to learning about the role of fire in Indiana’s past.

Tending the Fire

While in residence, Abby worked with the Minnetrista Cultural Center to curate an exhibition on the Ball Mansion fire using the Ball Family archives. The exhibition will be up until Spring 2019, so stop by to learn more about how destructive fire can be! Speaking of ‘on fire,’ Abby also brought her expertise on creative nonfiction to the Muncie Public Library, where she conducted a lecture and reading of excerpts of her upcoming book. If that wasn’t enough in one month, she also popped in to the David Owsley Museum of Art Final Friday PechaKucha event to retell the story of Phoebe Snow.