Melissa Sanders-Self

Professional Bio 

Melissa Sanders-Self lives in Santa Cruz, California and is a continuing lecturer in Literature and Creative Writing, at the University of California, Santa Cruz. She also teaches freshman core in social justice and art and philosophy at Kresge and Porter colleges. In 2016 she won the UC excellence in teaching award for her outstanding pedagogical innovation and dedication to her students. She produced and directed the documentary film, Writing Women’s Lives, which aired nationally on PBS. She has published short fiction with the Catamaran Literary Reader, New Rivers Press, New Brighton Books, and Doubleday. Her first novel, All That Lives, was published by Warner Books in 2002. Her second novel, The Stone Mother was a finalist for the Bellwether Prize in 2006. She is currently working on a memoir; Seizure: A Love Story.

Area of Expertise 

My area of expertise is in writing fiction, personal essays and memoir and in teaching the intricacies of craft involved in each of those forms. An important factor in my teaching is being a writer involved in the process of writing and publishing myself. I share my experience of having started an essay or story, responded to rewriting/editing suggestions, and polished it for publication as a model, so they understand process is what allows a final piece to become realized. Teaching is an area of expertise for me. Last May I received the UC Excellence in Teaching Award, which was a huge honor. I have previously won writing awards for publications, but the practice I spend the majority of my time and energy on---teaching, communicating knowledge, watching it take root and grow in my students, rarely comes with external recognition. The administrators who collected the student nominations informed me I had more nominations per quarter than any other faculty winner, implying it wasn’t just about the specific courses I was teaching; my teaching transcended the material to connect with students in ways that made learning meaningful and lasting, which is a distinctive tribute to my expertise.

Workshop Locations 
Institutional Affiliation 
Professional Title 
Melissa Sanders-Self