Jessica Anne is the author of A Manual for Nothing (Noemi Press, 2017), she is an alumna of the Neo-Futurist ensemble (2006-2012), and she edits Nonfiction for MAKE Literary Magazine.

"If you've ever had the pleasure of seeing lifelong Chicagoan and Neo-Futurist alumna Jessica Anne perform, then you know that her voice — the physical instrument by which she makes her words heard onstage — is an unforgettable phenomenon: clear, sharp, piping and incisive. If you give yourself the pleasure of reading her debut book, the delightful hybrid "A Manual for Nothing," then you will no doubt notice that her literary voice — the tone and attitude with which she makes her words manifest on the page — is equally memorable." 

-Kathleen Rooney

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A Manual For Nothing // Fiction // Noemi Press, 2017

A Manual (for Nothing) es un libro inclasificable y brillante, con un sentido del humor agudo que alcanza niveles de crueldad maravillosos. Jessica Anne es una de esas escritoras a las que no quieres dejar de leer nunca.
Daniel Saldana Paris


Jessica Anne’s A Manual for Nothing is so the book we need (I need) right now. A künstlerroman for the twenty-first century: A Portrait of the Artist as (Jessica Anne). The World According to (Jessica Anne). Remembrance of Lost (Jessica Anne). The Sorrows of Young (Jessica Anne). Look Homeward, (Jessica Anne). Adios, boy artists. With Patti LuPone as a spirit guide, A Manual for Nothing is a künstlerroman for and about girl artists and women artists and performance artists who want to be writer artists. A künstlerroman for all those who know the predatory mentor whose name “starts with a G-r and ends with an egg” and still kinda-sorta-hafta question what it even means to be a feminist. A künstlerroman for the silent ballerinas with perfect first positions but mute first persons. A Manual for Nothing is a künstlerroman for you, girl.
Kelcey Parker Ervick
Often the second person is distancing and abstract, but in Jessica Anne’s a manual (for nothing) it makes an intimate hum: a girl talking to herself, to her beloved, her girls, to you. Like a hive of bees suddenly pivoting from sweet to stabby, Jessica Anne’s narrative and metaphor are at once open-hearted and painful, which makes them honest. The bodies here can love, surprise, and be hurt, just like ours.
Mairead Case
We always advise each other that the best way to take off a Band-aid is to rip it- just one quick yank. In A Manual for Nothing, Jessica Anne never put the Band-aid on to begin with. Here, the wound is a world: rehearsals in a church basement, cat food, an unwanted touch, your name scraped out of Crayons. Here, the wound holds your gaze. The wound wants to play with you. This manual teaches you how.
Julia Cohen
Every night of the week in Chicago, you can see someone’s life story told or read aloud to you, from a stage. They’re bite-sized and endearing, they’re a good reason to leave the house. This show, though, is a reminder of what you can do with a life story when you push the work harder and farther, all the way to the edges.
— Lindsay Muscato
MIKE MOTHER weaves in and out of the present moment and current reality, leaving in its wake open wounds, left gaping so they can be pointed at and acknowledged that they gape on purpose by their poetic author, all of it charged by the electricity coming off of a very energetic opening night crowd. The Neos’ community knows best about the strength and vulnerability required for their brand of immediacy.
— Perform.Ink STAFF PICK
[Jessica Anne] marries her tale to a genuine theatrical fiction—Marsha Norman’s ‘Night, Mother—which she by turns respects, inverts, and subverts. [...] it’s funny, cunning, witty, literally splashy, and exhilarating in its reckless reverence for the truth.
— Chicago Reader Tony Adler
The gifted storyteller provides a provocative narrative [...] quirky, quizzical, mélange of a journey.
— Third Coast Review KARIN MCKIE