My Bio

IMG_2056r3LRDon’t Sweat the Essay Founder Elizabeth Benedict writes:

I came to helping students with their college and graduate school admissions essays and personal statements after teaching writing at top universities and colleges for more than twenty years and writing and editing about a dozen books and hundreds of essays and articles in major newspapers and magazines. I have decades of experience helping young people and adults learn to express their stories, experiences, and ideas in ways that are persuasive and effective.

Best of all, I love doing this work. I love the focused, practical nature of it. I love helping people make these important transitions in their lives. And I love the fact that in addition to coming away with essays you can be proud of, essays in your own voice and your own words, our working together will give you useful lessons that you can bring to your writing for the rest of your lives.

My latest book effort is as the editor of an anthology by leading writers, Me, My Hair and I: Twenty-seven Untangle an Obsession (Algonquin Books 2015), which was a People magazine Pick-of-the-Week, and brought me to The Today Show.  Two years earlier, I conceived of and edited the New York Times Bestselling anthology about mothers and daughters, What My Mother Gave Me: Thirty-one Women on the Gifts That Mattered Most (Algonquin 2013). I’m an award-winning author, editor, and professor of writing. I’ve taught nonfiction and fiction writing workshops for more than twenty years at Princeton, the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, Columbia, Barnard, Brandeis, Swarthmore, MIT, Skidmore, and Davidson, working with undergraduates, graduate students and adult learners. One of my five novels, Slow Dancing, was a finalist for the National Book Award. Another, Almost, was a national bestseller and made the Top 5 list of Best Novels of the Year on NPR’s Fresh Air. I wrote a now classic book on how to write fiction, and I’m the editor of a major anthology, Mentors, Muses & Monsters: 30 Writers on the People Who Changed Their Lives (Simon & Schuster 2009; SUNY Press 2011). And I’ve written hundreds of articles and essays for major publications, including The New York Times, Washington Post, Boston Globe, Huffington Post, Allure, Self, and Daedalus. Two of my recent essays made the Notable Essay section of the Best American Essays 2008 and 2009 (Houghton Mifflin).

I graduated from Barnard College, and am an active alumna there. Family members have attended Amherst, Juilliard, and SUNY Stony Brook.