Award Winners / Artist Profile

About the Artist

Brenda Miller (Bellingham) is a creative non-fiction writer. She lives 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 five Pushcart Prizes, and her essays have appeared in numerous periodicals such as The Sun, Creative Nonfiction, Fourth Genre, Utne Reader, and The Georgia Review. Brenda 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). She is also editor-in-chief of The Bellingham Review.

Brenda received 2008 GAP Award funding 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. 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, Washington, 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, Brenda 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 Brenda left with a promise to help them bring other writers to their community in the future.

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