In 2016 the University of Georgia Press will publish my collage-y nonfiction book, Moments in Selma & Other Glimpses of the South (with more Jews than you would think). To read my story about a destination bar mitzvah in Selma, click here.
In November I received a check from Judith Kitchen for my piece that will join 76 others in the anthology she and Dinah Lenney edited, Brief Encounters (W.W. Norton), forthcoming November 2015. The piece was published in Brevity and is part of the nonfiction manuscript mentioned above. Judith was a lyrical writer and a generous supporter of other writers. The day after I received the check, I heard that Judith had died. She had metastatic breast cancer and had thought she would have more time. Besides writing checks, Judith was cleaning closets up to the end. A tribute to Judith is here.
My nonfiction piece, "Jew in the Body," is now posted on Ars Medica.
My story "Brunch" from the New Yorker will be reprinted January 2015 in Life Is Short, Art is Shorter, ed. David Shields and Elizabeth Cooperman.
At the AWP conference in Minneapolis April 8 - 11, 2015 I will be on this panel with Tom Fate (moderator), Michele Morano, Tim Bascom, and Miles Harvey:
Detours of Intention: Travel Writing, Privilege, and Perspective.
"Travelers don't know where they're going. Tourists don't know where they've been," writes Paul Theroux. Tourists look; travelers see, conscious of their perspective. Which is why many writers who travel are concerned less with destinations than with the journey itself, less with being an accidental tourist than with being an intentional detourist. This panel of writers will explore the problems and promise of this kind of travel and of writing from the perspective of a privileged outsider.
Interviews & recordings
Links to short pieces
- Am I sorority material? Rushing, 10 years too late
- Craft essay: Notes on Eternity
- Destination bar mitzvah in Selma (feature)
- Furniture rental workers, Houston (creative nonfiction)
- How could they run a seder without me? (prose poem)
- If I ran for lt. guv (very lite)
- If the "story" could talk (creative nonfiction)
- In a Sympathetic Light... (poem)
- Interview 1 with Freedom Rider Thomas Armstrong
- Interview 2 with Freedom Rider Thomas Armstrong
- Liberator (fiction)
- Sheets (fiction)
- The Bobolinis (poem)
- Waiting and knowing and not knowing (creative nonfiction)
- What is good writing? With some good links
- Yang (poem)
- review of Nora Ephron's penultimate book
based on her blog. She is working on another nonfiction book, Moments in Selma & Other Glimpses of the South (with more Jews than you would think), to be published in 2015 by the University of Georgia Press.
She grew up in Houston and lives in Chicago. Her M.F.A. is in fiction from the University of Iowa Writers' Workshop; her B.S. is in journalism from the Medill School of Journalism. She was a feature writer for the Miami Herald and has published prose and poetry in The New Yorker, Ploughshares, Tikkun, New England Review, Michigan Quarterly Review and many other places. Her anthologized work is in Short Takes: Brief Encounters with Contemporary Nonfiction (Norton) and Creating Nonfiction: A Guide and Anthology (Bedford/ St. Martin's) . Her nonfiction has appeared in Lilith, River Teeth, Fourth Genre, the Pinch, Crab Orchard Review and Colorado Review, Common Review and The Progressive. Her fiction (excerpts from her novel manuscript, In the House of the World) can be found in Prairie Schooner, Seattle Review and a few other literary magazines. She was a blogger for The Huffington Post and from 2004 to 2014 was co-director and director of Northwestern's M.A./M.F.A. in Creative Writing program. She is now an instructor and head of teaching internships in the program. She has been the literary editor of TriQuarterly, and the creative nonfiction editor of Another Chicago Magazine. She's received a Pushcart Prize and fellowships from the Illinois Arts Council, Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown and the National Endowment for the Humanities. For the spring semester 2013 she was the Coal Royalty Chair at the University of Alabama, teaching in the MFA program. She was the graduate faculty recipient of the 2006-2007 Distinguished Teaching Award, presented by what is now known as Northwestern University School of Professional Studies.
E-mail her at SLwisenberg (at) sbcglobal.net.
Sandi was a substitute portrait artist at an amusement park, Astroworld, which has since been destroyed. (She was nowhere near it at the time.) Despite the worst grades of her life senior year in college, she was accepted into the Iowa Writers' Workshop at the University of Iowa. Nobody was talking about "creative nonfiction" back in those days. She is convinced she was accepted because she submitted a short story written in the second person, and this was before Jay McInerney used it in Bright Lights, Big City. She studied fiction, worked for newspapers, wrote fiction, did journalism, and so on and so forth. She has also written book reviews and poetry. She spent three wonderful summers teaching journalism cherubs at Northwestern. She spent four other wonderful summers getting educated by Uncle Sam in the National Endowment for the Humanities' summer seminars. She's taught writing at Northwestern, DePaul, School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Ragdale, Roosevelt and University of Chicago Graham School creative writing certificate program. To celebrate the end of chemo, she went to Philadelphia for a weekend mosaic class with Isaiah Zagar.
Reviews of The Adventures of Cancer Bitch:
--Chicago Tribune, 10/15/10
"Best book for someone who likes the idea of the Oprah Book Club but thinks they're too cool"--Time Out Chicago, 12/31/09
"... smart, self-deprecating sense of humor..." --MORE magazine, "Tackling Breast Cancer with Humor Books"
“witty and relentless, surprising and honest" –Audrey Niffenegger, author, The Time Traveler’s Wife
"S.L. Wisenberg’s The Adventures of Cancer Bitch (2009) is among the most Jewishly informed of the recent memoirs. It is also among the most poetic.”--Jewish Woman magazine, Winter 2010
“deeply personal, often darkly funny"–Kirkus Reviews
“far more selfless than most illness memoirs. Its eyes rove outward more than almost anything else I’ve read in the genre….The book is funny, damned funny.”--Bookslut.com
"Wisenberg brings her serious writing chops to bear in unflinching observations on breast cancer, cancer research, and teaching." --Library Journal
"(An) incredible book.... Wisenberg is acerbic, unsettling, truthful, and often hilarious." --Rain Taxi, Summer 2009
"Her ego shows, but so does her vulnerability."--
"I fell in love with the Bitch, her scalpel-sharp wit, and searing take on the breast cancer industry, where multinational corporations continue to join the breast cancer activism movement ('hop on the Pink bandwagon'). I loved her even more when, after she lost her hair to chemo, she decorated her head with henna designs and the slogan U.S. Out of Iraq."--Brevity
"[H]er book about her journey through the cancer experience is a must-read for anyone you think is tough enough to take it." --Herizons (Canada)
“...Sandi uses acerbic self-reflection to search for higher truth (both spiritual and medical).”--
“…like the best of the savage memoirs, it’s doused in hope. --Newcity Chicago
“Think David Sedaris meets Marcel Proust, only Wisenberg is fully a woman.” –UC San Francisco Breast Care Center newsletter
"I found myself laughing at the author's antics while dealing with the seriousness of her condition, and I found myself sobbing at points where her depression and darkness haunts her recovery through chemotherapy."--FeministReview.com
"[The title] conveys her feistiness, sardonic sense of humor, fighter attitude, and willingness to speak the truth as she sees it."--Jewish Book WorldRead about Cancer Bitch and much more in Mary DeShazer's Mammographies: The Cultural Discourses of Breast Cancer Narratives.
Places where I've read my work, led a class, and the like (selected)
- AWP conference panels, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2010, 2012, 2013
- Antioch College & Antioch University Midwest, 2012, 2014
- Aquinas College, Grand Rapids, MI 2009
- Art & Medicine conference, University of Iowa, 2008 (keynote), 2009 (workshop leader)
- Brown University, 2013
- Center for the Writing Arts, Northwestern University, 2002, 2009, 2013
- Columbia College Creative Nonfiction Week, 1998, 2002, 2006, 2010
- Dallas Museum of Art, Arts & Letters Live, 1994, 2002
- Drew University, 2003
- Gilda’s Club Chicago, 2009
- Gilda’s Club Delaware Valley, Warminster, PA, 2009
- Grand Valley State University, MI, 2009
- Jewish Book & Culture Fair, Milwaukee, 2001
- Jewish Book Fair, Houston, 1994, 2001, 2002, 2009
- Lafayette College, Easton, PA, Close Writer in Residence, 2004
- Lake Forest (IL) College, 2010
- Loyola University Chicago, 2001, 2009, 2011
- MLA convention panels, 2002, 2008, 2014
- Miami Book Fair International, 2002, 2009
- Minnesota State University-Mankato, Eddice B. Barber Visiting Writer Program, 2005
- Oakton Community College, 2010
- Printers Row Book Fair, Chicago, 1993, 1996, 1999, 2002, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011
- Purdue University, Jewish Studies Lecture Series, 2001, 2004; Cancer Culture & Community program, 2007
- Ripon (WI) College, 2007
- Texas A & M University, 2001, 2006
- University of Alabama, Bankhead reading series, 2009
- University of Iowa NonfictioNow conference, 2005, 2007, 2010
- Valparaiso University, 2011