Rebecca Ainsworth

Creative Nonfiction | Cleveland State University | Class of 2021

Rebekah Ainsworth’s Both And is a soulful, probing, searing collection of essays on settling down and breaking up, coming into one’s own as a working-class artist, mothering with depression in the 21st century, surviving the patriarchy with love and style, and discovering ways to live when life doesn’t feel like it’s supposed to. Rebekah’s essays forced me to ask: just how many times can a professor write hell yes in the margins of a thesis? This work has a big heart, a keen eye, and a vibrant sense of freedom and what it’s good for. —Hilary Plum

About Rebecca

Rebekah Ainsworth is an essayist and musician from Cleveland, Ohio. She completed her MFA in creative nonfiction from Cleveland State University in 2021. Her essay collection "Both And" considers the (im)possible freedoms offered an American woman at the intersection of a blue-collar upbringing, motherhood, and the impulse to create.

Your advice to an incoming MFA student? (or the best piece of advice you received as a young writer?)

Write what you can when you can. Read what you like: there is so much (really good work!) out there, you don’t have time to read things that aren’t feeding your soul machine. Don’t be afraid to plough through challenging, uncomfortable creations you don’t understand—that’s where you grow. Last, but perhaps most importantly, surround yourself with people who are creating. 

What’s on your nightstand right now?

Suture: Trauma & Trans Becoming, Cerankowski; The Not Good Enough Mother, Lamb; Outside Voices, Please, Hsiung; a star machine; a dinosaur color wheel.

What are your favorite words? Why?

Words: fleshy, bobolink, persimmon, undulate, fat

Why: I don’t know? I like the body, and consonantal variety?

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English Department
Cleveland State University
2121 Euclid Ave., RT 1815
Cleveland, Ohio  44115