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Writing the Personal Essay
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With essayist/poet/author Sheila Bender


When most people hear the word "essay," they think of the horrors of school exams. But this week's guest shows us that essays can be as expressive as poetry and a whole lot of fun.

Sheila Bender's essays and poems appear online and in numerous North American literary magazines and anthologies including Poetry Northwest, The Seattle Review, The Bellingham Review, Tiny Lights, and Tidepools, among others.

Sheila's passion is helping those who want to break their writing out into new forms, revise effectively, generate more writing, or facilitate the writing of others. In the last three decades, she has worked with hundreds of people in colleges, universities, and workshops helping them write personal essays, poetry, and writer's journals and allow writing a serious place in their lives.

Each year, Sheila is joined by a renowned faculty for the Writing It Real in Port Townsend Writers' Conference.

Please join Sheila Bender and host Paula B. as they probe:

  • What a personal essay is, and why you might want to write one
  • What you should and shouldn't do when writing a personal essay
  • What sorts of obstacles confront writers of personal essays
  • Whether writing personal essays is self-indulgent
  • How to publish personal essays
  • How to overcome fears associated with writing personal essays.

Interviewee: Sheila Bender
Host: Paula B.
Date:   October 5, 2008
Running time: 56:10
File size: 27 megabytes
Rating: G
Sheila Bender's Web site:

Purchase Sheila's books at