Author Meredith Sue Willis was born in Clarksburg on May 31, 1946, and was raised in Shinnston where her father, Glenn Willis, and her mother, Lucille Meredith Willis, were both educators. After graduating from Shinnston High School, she attended Bucknell University for two years. She dropped out to become a VISTA volunteer, later graduating from Barnard College. After a year as a recreation therapist in New York’s Bellevue Hospital, she earned an MFA degree from Columbia and began to work as an artist-in-residence in New York public schools and in New Jersey. She was also appointed adjunct assistant professor of creative writing at New York University’s School of Continuing and Professional Studies.
Willis authored three books on the teaching of writing— Personal Fiction Writing (1984), Blazing Pencils (1990), and Deep Revision (1993)—widely used by teachers around the country, as well as a book for writers, Ten Strategies to Write Your Novel (2010).
She has written three children’s books, The Secret Super Powers of Marco (1994), Marco’s Monster (1996), and Billie of Fish House Lane (2006). Her adult fiction, which is mainly set in West Virginia, includes A Space Apart (1979), Higher Ground (1981), Only Great Changes (1985), Quilt Pieces (1991), In The Mountains of America (1994), Trespassers (1997), Oradell at Sea (2002) Dwight’s House and Other Stories (2004), The City Built of Starships (2005), and Out of the Mountains (2010). She lives in South Orange, New Jersey, with her husband.
This Article was written by Merle Moore
Last Revised on November 19, 2010
Willis, Meredith Sue. Interview by author. 9/29/1998.