Award Winners / Artist Profile

About the Artist

Brenda Miller (Bellingham) is a creative non-fiction writer living in Bellingham, where she teaches creative writing at Western Washington University. She is the author of Season of the Body (Sarabande Books, 2002), which was a finalist for the PEN American Center Book Award in Creative Nonfiction, the Glasgow Prize for Emerging Writers, and the Forward Jewish Book of the Year. She has received four Pushcart Prizes, and her essays have appeared in numerous periodicals such as The Sun, Creative Nonfiction, Fourth Genre, Utne Reader, and The Georgia Review. She co-authored, with Suzanne Paola, the textbook Tell it Slant: Writing and Shaping Creative Nonfiction (McGraw-Hill, 2003). Her work has also appeared in several anthologies and retrospectives devoted to the personal essay, including The Pushcart Book of Essays, a selection of the best essays published in the Pushcart Prize anthologies in the last 25 years, and True Stories from the Midlife Underground (forthcoming, Doubleday, 2006). Miller is also Editor-in-Chief of The Bellingham Review.

Brenda received a 2008 GAP for financial support as she completes her fourth book entitled Music of Spheres. This collection of personal essays examines the link between contemplative practices and writing practice. She was artist in residence at the Whiteley Center on San Juan Island in 2008. She also received a 2008 Pushcart Prize for her essay "Blessing of the Animals," which appeared in the November 2007 issue of The Sun. She has won the Pushcart Prize five times. On top of that. in the same year, her work was printed in the Summer 2008 issue of Centrum's Experience magazine.

As part of her Fellowship’s Meet the Artist requirements, Brenda traveled to Concrete, WA, to lead a workshop called “The Body of Memory: Writing Your Life Through the Senses” at the Upper Skagit Library. Library Director Margaret Studer advertised the event, and within days had a full workshop with a waiting list. Speaking to an eager and receptive group of 12, Miller shared with them the first essay she ever wrote, and they discussed the instinctual use of detail, form and structure inherent in that piece. She then discussed a chapter from her textbook Tell it Slant: Writing and Shaping Creative Nonfiction and led the participants in a four-part writing exercise in which they explored their earliest memories through use of the five senses and intuition. All the participants shared their work, amid tears and laughter, and Miller left with a promise to help them bring other writers to their community in the future.

Margaret Studer said, “You gave our community a rare opportunity to learn more of the craft of writing… as you can see, our community is hungry for experiences such as this…. Our thanks, as well goes, to Artist Trust for its support in bringing this workshop here. In our remote little corner of Skagit County it is particularly meaningful to be able to offer such a high quality program. We look forward to more partnerships in the future.”

Information included above was provided by artist at the time of application.