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Hope College
Department of English
126 E. 10th St.
Holland, MI 49423
phone: 616.395.7620
fax: 616.395.7134


English Department Faculty

Heather Sellers

Education: B.A., Florida State University (1985); M.A., Florida State University (1988); Ph.D., Florida State University, Tallahassee (1992).

Expertise: ative Writing (Fiction, Poetry, Nonfiction); Creative Writing (Pedagogy); American Literature (Contemporary Short Story, Story Cycles, Linked Stories); History and Theory of the Short Story; Journals (Illustrated, Creative, Nature-Journaling); Children's Literature.

Selected Works: Your Whole Life (1995, poetry chapbook); Georgia Underwater (2001, linked short fiction); Drinking Girls and Their Dresses (2002, poetry); Spike & Cubby's Ice Cream Island Adventure! (2003, childrens'); Page After Page: How to Start Writing and Keep Writing No Matter What! (2004, self-help/creative writing); Chapter After Chapter: Discover the Dedication And Focus You Need to Write the Book of Your Dreams (2006, self-help/creative writing); The Boys I Borrow (2007, poetry), The Practice of Creative Writing (2008, textbook). You Don't Look Like Anyone I Know (2010, memoir); recent essays appear in Angle of Vision, The Sun, Fourth Genre, Prairie Schooner, and The New Ohio Review.

Distinctions: National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship (Fiction, 2001); Barnes and Noble New Discover Award (2001). H.O.P.E Hope Oustanding Professor Educator, 2011. Michigan Notable Book Award 2010; Friends of American Writers Book Award 2010. Narrative Magazine national essay award finalist for "Victory Gardens."

Contact: Lubbers Hall 308


The Practice of Creative Writing: A Guide for Students, 2nd Edition (2012)
The Practice of Creative Writing is designed for all students in the introductory course, including those who may never take another writing class. Its message is, simply put: you can do this, and it's worthwhile to try. Heather Sellers, who writes in multiple genres herself, has developed an approach that focuses on the habits and strategies that produce good writing in any genre. These habits and strategies make it possible for students to focus, to generate lots of writing, and to get to the good stuff -- the powerful imagery and the stories they really want to tell. She makes creative writing fun by providing opportunities to be playful and to experiment at the same time she teaches students the importance of discipline and craft.

You Don't Look Like Anyone I Know (2011) is the story of how I uncovered my past, which had long been obscured by my family’s extreme circumstamces and by face blindness, a neurological disorder that prevents me from recognizing people by face. Along the way, I discovered a deeper truth: that even in the most flawed circumstances, love may be seen and felt.

The Practice of Creative Writing: A Guide for Students (2008).
"New for the introduction to creative writing course, The Practice of Writing, by Heather Sellers, gets students writing, keeps them writing, and introduces them to life-long writer's habits. The approach is inviting and accessible and includes a unique emphasis on reading as a writer."

The Boys I Borrow (2007).
"In a world in which people speak in clichés and platitudes, Heather Sellers’ stunning new collection of poems The Boys I Borrow, transcends the quotidian events of our day. I’ve read novels that have not developed relationships between people in marriage as well as this. In poems that deftly insert lyric moments in narrative poems, she uncovers the nuances of infertility, a new marriage and the changes in life before and after all of the above. If you know anything about the difference between desire and love and the realities that blur between them, if you’ve lived any life at all you’ll 'remember, you have lived this way, always hungry' for more." -A. Van Jordan

Chapter After Chapter: Discover the Dedication And Focus You Need to Write the Book of Your Dreams (2006).
Writing a book requires a focus, a sense of knowing and trusting in yourself and your work. And it requires an unflinching commitment to staying the course. Chapter After Chapter shows you how to build on your good writing habits, accrue and recognize tiny successes, and turn your dedication to the craft into the book you always knew you could write if you could just stay with it. You'll discover how to celebrate the momentum of slow and steady, stay in love with your book project through soggy middles and long revisions, and embrace the nakedness that is creative expression.

Page After Page: How to Start Writing and Keep Writing No Matter What! (2004).
Ninety percent of beginning writers stop practicing their craft before they have a chance to discover their talents. This essential and encouraging guide: Helps readers build a writing life, one that will help them continue to write without giving up; Approaches the writing life without using new age and self-help techniques, so writers from all walks of life will benefit from the advice; Provides engaging exercises to help readers shape their writing life and achieve their goals. Written by an author with more than twenty years of teaching and writing experience, Page After Page helps writers keep writing, page after page, day after day.
Spike and Cubby's Ice Cream Island Adventure (2004).
Spike and Cubby are the best of friends. They are also a working dog team: Cubby is a writer with no time for interruptions, and Spike's an illustrator with a knack for distracting. But when the distraction is the amazing Ice Cream Island--specializing in Spumoni Baloney Grande--what dog can resist? This playful adventure proves that friendship can weather more than a bit of rough-and-tumble, and especially that a little distraction (and a yummy treat) can lead to inspiration.
Drinking Girls and Their Dresses (2002).
The poems in this book tell a story set in a Florida both lush and oppressive, where similar paradoxes confront the child who would be both open to everything and permanently safe. The girl-body's relationship to otherness—the masculine, but also the overpowering natural world€—as it is distracted by desire plays a key role in these slant, crackly, truly original poems.
Georgia Under Water (2001).
Meet Georgia. She lives in Florida and she's never far from the ocean or a pool. She's a nail-chewer, a scab-picker, a daydreamer, and everything that a little girl struggling under the awkward pain of growing up should be. She's the child-hero of the nine linked stories in Heather Seller's Georgia Under Water, and in this remarkable debut collection, Sellers offers an honest, bittersweet, and often funny picture of adolescence.

Your Whole Life (1995, poetry chapbook).
In 1995, I was working on this collection of poems about growing up in weird, wild Florida when my teacher, Jerome Stern, discovered his brain cancer had returned. Jerry is one of the most important people in my life and his illness was painful, terrible, scary, and wrenching. Jerry was an amazing teacher. He was in his office from 7 in the morning until 6 at night. Students would sit in the hall outside his door, waiting for hours for a conference. Jerry made adulthood look interesting. He presented fiction as learning, and as a way of life. As I was writing about childhood, and Jerry was dying, I was thinking a lot about those two losses as twins. The poems in this series started to disrupt themselves and change; the collection tells two stories simultaneously: coming of age, and losing a beloved friend. --Heather Sellers