County: Whatcom County
Brenda Miller is the author of five essay collections, including An Earlier Life, which received the Washington State Book Award for Memoir in 2017. She co-authored Tell it Slant: Creating, Refining, and Publishing Creative Nonfiction, now in its Third Edition, and The Pen and the Bell: Mindful Writing in a Busy World. She is a professor of creative writing at Western Washington University, and associate faculty at the Rainier Writing Workshop. In her spare time she volunteers with Whatcom Hospice and fosters dogs for Happy Tails Happy Homes.
Brenda received 2019 GAP Award funding to complete a hybrid collection of poetry and prose about her experiences volunteering with Whatcom Hospice. She also sings with the Bellingham Threshold Singers, small teams of women who sing at the bedsides of the ill and dying. She will include research on Dame Cicely Saunders, the woman widely regarded as the founder of the modern hospice movement. Born in 1918, Saunders became a medical social worker who cared for terminally ill patients; she saw the need for a radical new approach for working with the dying based on the concept of “total pain”: physical, mental, and spiritual discomfort. In order to be taken seriously, Saunders went to medical school in her late thirties and became a physician. She founded St. Christopher’s Hospice in London, which began taking its first patients in 1967. Brenda will use the time afforded by this award to integrate her own experiences of hospice work with more primary research on Dame Saunders (her letters and writings) to bring her voice and spirit to life within this context.
Artist Trust thanks the Amazon Literary Partnership for underwriting this award through Artist Trust’s Corporate Partnership program. For information about supporting Washington State artists, visit here.