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Em Friedman is a regular contributor to Polygon, providing deeper dives into the world of tabletop roleplaying games, actual play performance, media history, & creator communities. A leading scholar in the study of actual play, her work has appeared in the Los Angeles Review of Books, In Media Res, Journal of Cinema and Media Studies, and many other public and scholarly venues.

An award-winning teacher and scholar trained in book history, narratology, and digital methods, she explores the long history of creativity outside commercial mass media, from never-published manuscript fiction of the 18th and 19th centuries to creator cultures of the 21st. She is currently associate professor of English at Auburn University and director of, a leading peer-reviewing venue for digital work in 18th-century studies. With Dr. Emily Kugler she explores the 18th century connection to games at CriticalProf.

She is currently at work on her second book, Improvised Worlds: Digital Storytelling Through Play.