Books

The Essential Ellen Willis
Ellen Willis, edited by Nona Willis Aronowitz
University of Minnesota Press, 2014

"No one sounded like Willis then, and no one sounds like her now: wry, playful, humble, genuinely searching, intellectually formidable." —New York Times

"Gathering 53 career-spanning pieces, this is an act of reclamation, a reminder of what a piercing and brilliant writer Willis was." — LA Times

"There’s only one word for Ellen Willis’s work—exhilarating!” Barbara Ehrenreich

The Essential Ellen Willis gathers my mother’s writings that span forty years and are deeply engaged with the times in which they were first published. Yet they remain fresh and relevant amid today’s seemingly intractable political and cultural battles. Whether addressing the women’s movement, sex and abortion, race and class, or war and terrorism, Ellen Willis brought to each a distinctive attitude. The anthology features previously uncollected and unpublished works, including an unfinished book on psychoanalysis and politics. Also featuring essays by Ann Friedman, Irin Carmon, Spencer Ackerman, Cord Jefferson, Sara Marcus, and Stanley Aronowitz.

Girldrive: Criss-crossing America, Redefining Feminism
by Nona Willis Aronowitz and Emma Bee Bernstein 
Seal Press, 2009

"A rare glimpse of two friends searching to know themselves, their mothers and their generation."Chicago Tribune

"Not only do I highly recommend Girldrive…I’m insanely jealous I didn’t think of it first.”
—Anna Holmes

Girldrive: Criss-crossing America, Redefining Feminism chronicles a road trip that my friend Emma Bee Bernstein and I took across the United States to find out what young women think about feminism. The book tells our generation’s story through vivid photos, profiles, and diary entries. It includes 127 women, women as diverse as a sex shop clerk, a bible college student, a witch, a future nun, a former Air Force worker, and an anarchist. Girldrive tracks a conversation between the next generation and allows gutsy young women across the American cityscape to be seen and heard. It evaluates, through an intergenerational exchange, the current state of feminism and its many definitions. The book has gotten lots of praise, including a starred review from Publishers Weekly and a place on the Amelia Bloomer list.

Out of the Vinyl Deeps: Ellen Willis on Rock Music
by Ellen Willis, edited by Nona Willis Aronowitz
University of Minnesota, 2011

“A timeless compendium of clear thinking and fresh, humane, and persuasive prose.”—Jonathan Lethem

“It’s like unearthing the holy grail of rock criticism!” —Kathleen Hanna

Out of the Vinyl Deeps: Ellen Willis on Rock Music is an anthology of my mother Ellen Willis’s music criticism. Besides being a radical leftist essayist, feminist, activist and professor, Willis was the first pop music critic for the New Yorker and a seminal writer on rock and roll. While most discussion of pop criticism at that time focused on the work of influential male writers (Robert Christgau, Greil Marcus, Lester Bangs), Willis was writing for a larger audience than almost any other critic, making her one of the few women to break into a predominately male rock criticism scene. Out of the Vinyl Deeps reintroduces her critical acuity, vivid prose, against-the-grain opinions, and distinctly female (and feminist) perspective to a new generation of readers. Pop music critic Sasha Frere-Jones wrote the foreword, and the book has earned accolades from the likes of Kathleen Hanna, Ann Powers, Rob Sheffield and Alex Ross. The book was SPIN's #1 music book of the year, and one of the L.A. Times’ and The New Republic's best books of the year. Out of the Vinyl Deeps won an ASCAP Deems Taylor award and was also nominated for a National Book Critics Circle award.