Who was Ellen Willis?

Ellen Willis, born December 14, 1941, was a radical leftist writer and thinker whose true loves were pop culture, feminism, pleasure, freedom, and countercultural politics. She was the first rock critic for the New Yorker, an editor and columnist at The Village Voice, and wrote for numerous publications like Rolling Stone, The New York Times, The Nation, and Dissent. She was a cofounder of the radical feminist group The Redstockings and No More Nice Girls, and the founder of the Cultural Reporting and Criticism Program at NYU. She died in November 2006.

She published three books of essays: Beginning to See the Light: Sex, Hope, and Rock & RollNo More Nice Girls: Countercultural Essays; and Don’t Think, Smile: Notes on a Decade of Denial. A new anthology of her rock criticism, called Out of the Vinyl Deeps: Ellen Willis on Rock Music, was just released by U. of Minnesota Press.

Some of her work is archived here, to preserve her legacy in what she called the “cultural conversation.” This online archive is ever-growing; if you have a new link for the site, or if you discover a broken link, email me at nona200 (at) gmail (dot) com.