Professors Margo Jefferson and Leslie Jamison Contribute to 'This Woman's Work: Essays on Music'

BY Rebecca Pinwei Tseng, April 29, 2022

White Rabbit Books recently published This Woman's Work, an essay collection that includes contributions from Professor and School of Journalism alumna Margo Jefferson and Professor Leslie JamisonThis Woman's Work is now available for purchase.


This Woman's Work, edited by Sonic Youth’s Kim Gordon and critic Sinéad Gleeson, challenges the historic narrative of music and music writing by men and for men. The anthology of 16 essays confronts the sexism deeply embedded in the fields of music, literature, and film. The essays seek to explore "the experimentalists, women who blended music and activism, the genre-breakers, the vocal auteurs; stories of lost homelands and friends; of propaganda and dictatorships, the women of folk and country, the racialized tropes of jazz, the music of Trap and Carriacou; of mixtapes and violin lessons."


Jefferson's essay delves into the life of Ella Fitzgerald and the judgment she faced as a jazz singer. Jamison writes about mixtapes and how her relationship with music became intertwined with the preferences of men in her life. Other contributors include Maggie Nelson, Ottessa Moshfegh, Simone White, Yiyun Li, and Zakia Sewell.

Jefferson is a Pulitzer Prize-winning cultural critic. She has been a staff writer for The New York Times and Newsweek; her reviews and essays have appeared in New York Magazine, Grand Street, Vogue, Harper’s, and many other publications. Her book, On Michael Jackson, was published in 2005. She has received a Guggenheim Fellowship and a Rockefeller Foundation / Theater Communications Group grant. She has also written and performed two theater pieces at The Cherry Lane Theatre and The Culture Project. Margo's 2015 memoir Negroland received the National Book Critics Circle Award for Autobiography, The Heartland Prize for Nonfiction, The Bridge Prize for Nonfiction, and was short-listed for The Baillie Gifford Prize. The New York Times also listed it as one of the 50 best memoirs of the last 50 years. Her latest book, Constructing a Nervous System: A Memoir, is out now. In 2022, Jefferson won a Windham-Campbell Prize.


Leslie Jamison is the New York Times bestselling author of four books: two essay collections, Make It Scream, Make It Burn (Little, Brown and Company, 2019) and The Empathy Exams (Graywolf Press, 2014), as well as The Recovering: Intoxication and its Aftermath (Bay Back Books, 2019), and a novel, The Gin Closet (Free Press, 2011), a finalist for the Los Angeles Times First Fiction Award. The Empathy Exams was chosen as a Notable Book of 2014 and an Editor’s Choice by the New York Times. The Recovering was named the Best Nonfiction Book of 2018 by Entertainment Weekly and the best-reviewed memoir of 2018 by LitHub. Make It Scream, Make It Burn and The Empathy Exams were finalists for the PEN/Diamonstein-Spielvogel Award for the Art of the Essay.