The Millions shows up pretty regularly on our What to Read Now postings. But in addition to reviewing books, art, and culture, they also keep track of trends. Each month, The Millions compiles a list of the top-ten sellers on Amazon. As you might expect, the list is pretty heavily loaded with fiction, so we were delighted to find Tell It Slant on the June 2020 list.

Written by Brenda Miller and Suzanne Paola, both prolific writers and professors of English at Western Washington University (Bellingham, Washington), Tell It Slant is a bookshelf essential for writers of every stripe. While the focus of the book is creative nonfiction, the resources it offers are easily applied to poetry, fiction, nonfiction, and other literary forms. Originally published as a textbook in 2003, Tell It Slant is now in its third edition and available from McGraw-Hill or an independent bookstore (with curbside pickup) near you.

Congratulations to Brenda and Suzanne!

orcas in Seattle, tonight!

November 12, 2019

Hear scientists and writers discuss the fate of the endangered Southern Resident orcas and read from the anthology, For Love of Orcas (Wandering Aengus Press, 2019), tonight, Tuesday, November 12, 2019, at 7:00pm, at Hugo House. Featured readers include Sarah DeWeerdt, Bob Friel, Paula MacKay, Brenda Miller, and Adrienne Ross Scanlon. The reading and talk, which is free and open to the public, will be moderated by anthology co-editor and poet Jill McCabe Johnson. Details and participant bios at Hugo House.

congratulations, winners!

October 16, 2017

Congratulations to the winners of the Washington State Book Awards:

  • Poetry – My, My, My, My, My by Tara Hardy (Seattle)
  • Biography/memoir – An Earlier Life by Brenda Miller (Bellingham)
  • Fiction – Daredevils by Shawn Vestal (Spokane)
  • History/general nonfiction – Eruption: The Untold Story of Mount St. Helens by Steve Olson (Seattle)
  • Picture book – Thunder Boy Jr. by Sherman Alexie (Seattle), illustrated by Yuyi Morales
  • Young readers (ages 6 to 8) – Narwhal: Unicorn of the Sea by Ben Clanton (Tacoma)
  • Middle readers (ages 9 to 12) – Some Kind of Courage by Dan Gemeinhart (Cashmere)
  • Young adults (ages 13 to 18) – Useless Bay by M.J. Beaufrand (Seattle)

See the complete list of finalists here.

de Gutes and Miller: memoir

September 30, 2017

This should be an exceptional evening at Village Books in Bellingham: Kate Carroll de Gutes and Brenda Miller read from their latest books, The Authenticity Experiment: Lessons from the Best & Worst Year of My Life (Two Sylvias Press) and An Earlier Life (Ovenbird Books), respectively. In each of these books, essays-as-memoir shine with personal and poetic grace. Join the audience on Wednesday, October 4, 2017, at 7:00pm.

writing with aloha

February 20, 2017

Kahini on Kaua’i

If winter (present or future) has you yearning for light, consider the delicious options on offer from Kahini.

There are still spaces available for The 2017 Hawai’i Writers’ Retreat, December 10-16, 2017, at the Aston Waikoloa Colony villas on the Big Island, with instructors Sheila Bender and Brenda Miller. The focus is the short-short, whether memoir, fiction or poem. Participants can also bring along non-participating spouses/partners for a very low additional fee.

If December doesn’t work for you, consider January 28-February 3, 2018, when Jordan Hartt will offer a week of writing at at the Villas at Po’ipu Kai for The 2018 Kaua’i Writers’ Retreat. Open to memoir writers, fiction writers and poets, the retreat again focuses on the short-short form.

There’s more!

The Kahini Café offers you a chance to write and workshop nine new short stories from the comfort of your home. There will be daily prompts, weekly readings and corresponding craft lectures, with MFA-level feedback. The Café meets monthly, April through December 2017.

For more, visit and browse the online contents of Kahini Magazine.

Short shorts in December

January 23, 2017

Hawai’i Writers’ Retreat

If blue water, balmy air and palm trees sound like the perfect prescription for December, you’d be well advised to jump all over this opportunity. It won’t last long. Registration is now open for the Hawai’i Writers’ Retreat, featuring Sheila Bender and Brenda Miller. Open to memoir writers, fiction writers, and poets, the Retreat is designed to get you to a completed 1,000-word piece in just one week, while you enjoy one of the most beautiful, inspirational places in the world — the Big Island of Hawai’i. December 10 through December 16, 2017. Details at Kahini, where you’ll also find links to the 2017 Kāpiti Writers’ Retreat (March 3-5, 2017, New Zealand).

Bellingham Review event

Too good to miss, it’s a party to celebrate the release of Issue 70 of the Bellingham Review. This issue marks the conclusion of editor-in-chief Brenda Miller’s leadership of the journal and the party will also honor her and welcome the new editor, S. Paola Antonetta.

The event, on Saturday, May 16, 2015, at Honey Moon in Bellingham, Washington, will start at 7:00pm with readings from Issue 70’s contest winners (Michael William Palmer, Jackleen Holton, and Tom Howard) and readings by graduate students enrolled in the English department at WWU.

At 8:30pm Honey Moon hosts Wild Literarians, vol. 3, a community open mic event where lovers of the written word can share passages from their favorite books. Both events are free and open to the public.

Call 360-734-0728 or email for more information, or to sign-up for the open mic portion of the event. See additional event details on Facebook.

Brenda Miller at The Furnace

Tonight, in Seattle, at Hollow Earth Radio, the quarterly reading series The Furnace presents Brenda Miller reading her essay “We Regret to Inform You,” a memoir told through rejection letters that explores the many “nos” we encounter in our lives and how we find or create for ourselves a Yes. Details on Facebook and at The Furnace.


October 9, 2012

Poetry Workshops October-November 2012

We’ve added two more workshops to the stellar Fall lineup! Reminder: Brenda Miller and Kathleen Flenniken will each teach a workshop to benefit the Sue C. Boynton Poetry Contest this Saturday, October 13, 2012. Plus, we now have all the details on workshops with Rachel Ballard and Casey Fuller, coming up on November 17.

Read all about them on the WORKSHOPS! page, and then sign up!

The Pen and the Bell: Mindful Writing in a Busy WorldCongratulations to Brenda Miller and Holly J. Hughes, whose co-authored book, The Pen and the Bell: Mindful Writing in a Busy World, is hot off the press from Skinner House Books.

What started as an exchange of letters about writing and contemplation has evolved into a reflective and inspiring book that demonstrates the importance of contemplation as “an active practice” that directly benefits one’s writing.

The authors will read from and talk about The Pen and the Bell at a book launch on Sunday, May 20, 2012, at 4:00pm, at Village Books, in Bellingham. Learn more and join the event on Facebook.

Brenda Miller, who is a Professor of English at Western Washington University and serves as Editor-in-Chief of the Bellingham Review, is the recipient of six Pushcart Prizes and author of Listening Against the Stone (Skinner House Books, 2011), Blessing of the Animals (EWU Press, 2009), Season of the Body (Sarabande Books, 2002), and co-author of Tell it Slant: Writing and Shaping Creative Nonfiction (McGraw-Hill, 2003 and 2012). Learn more at her website or her blog, Spa of the Mind.

Holly J. Hughes is the editor of the anthology Beyond Forgetting: Poetry and Prose about Alzheimer’s Disease (Kent State University Press) and the author of Boxing the Compass (Floating Bridge Press). She teaches writing at Edmonds Community College.

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