Purdue University Graduate School

File(s) under permanent embargo

Reason: Pending publication

The Necessary Biography of Elysia Martinez-Smith by Ezra Speckman

posted on 2022-04-26, 00:29 authored by Paul Joseph RikerPaul Joseph Riker


The Necessary Biography of Elysia Martinez-Smith by Ezra Speckman is the story of – as the title indicates – Elysia Martinez-Smith, a twentysomething writer, podcaster, and self-made media mogul. Told in chronological, protracted scenes, the biography follows her from her childhood growing up in Chicago’s north-shore suburbs; through her college years as an on-campus student leader at nearby Northwestern University; through her work as a blogger for the Trump-era feminist outlet SmileLess.org; culminating with her ascent to thought leader, content creator, and founder of her own website, the progressive-minded news collective Beecher Media Network. 

The “biography” is framed as a found text: Ezra Speckman, the work’s author and a former friend of Martinez-Smith’s, left the work unfinished; as such, it is presented to the reader as containing his notes and marginalia. Through these notes, inconsistencies in Martinez-Smith’s character – and Speckman’s motivations – emerge. 


Degree Type

  • Master of Fine Arts


  • English

Campus location

  • West Lafayette

Advisor/Supervisor/Committee Chair

Brian Leung

Additional Committee Member 2

Terese Mailhot

Additional Committee Member 3

Sharon Solwitz

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