I am the author of three memoirs, a poetry collection, and a craft book on writing. I teach writing at the Vermont College of Fine Arts, a low-residency program. I am also a professional speaker.
The Pat Boone Fan Club: My Life as a White Anglo-Saxon Jew is now officially published. Please click on book jacket image on left. For more information, click on book title, on right. (The University of Nebraska Press, American Lives Series, series editor Tobias Wolff.) At the heart of this journey are three separate encounters with 1960s pop-music icon, turned Christian provocateur, Pat Boone, who plays a pivotal role in my desire to belong to the dominant culture.
Kirkus Review: “'The Pat Boone Fan Club: My Life as a White Anglo-Saxon Jew' is a series of riveting essays about growing up Jewish in a Gentile world by the accomplished memoirist Silverman.... A masterly stylist continues her uncompromising examination of the inner life.”
Read the full review by clicking on the title of the book in the right-hand column.
Poets & Writers named Fearless Confessions: A Writer's Guide to Memoir one of the "essential books for writers."
The Pat Boone Fan Club: My Life as a White Anglo-Saxon Jew.
Love Sick: One Woman's Journey through Sexual Addiction, was also made into a Lifetime Television Original Movie.
Because I Remember Terror, Father, I Remember You, won the Association of Writers and Writing Programs award in creative nonfiction
Fearless Confessions: A Writer's Guide to Memoir is for beginning and experienced writers alike, and is a road map for writing life stories. It is a step-by-step guide to shaping memory into art, to turning imagery into metaphor – all the elements needed to craft raw experience into a fully formed story.
Hieroglyphics in Neon is a collection of poetry, published by Orchises Press.
I speak on such topics as sexual addiction, child abuse prevention, and family dynamics. I deliver presentations at colleges and universities, professional conferences, and social service organizations. I also speak about the importance of writing your life story.
I have appeared on many national radio and television programs such as The View, Anderson Cooper-360, CNN-Headline News, the Discovery Channel, a John Stossel Special on ABC-TV, the Montel Williams Show, the Ricki Lake Show, the Morning Show with Mike and Juliet. She was also featured in an episode of "The Secret Lives of Women" on WE-TV.
I teach writing at the low-residency MFA program at Vermont College of Fine Arts.
"Beautiful, rocketing prose." ~~The Tallahassee Democrat
"Compelling.... Silverman explores the psychology of addiction on a deeply personal level. Candid, emotionally raw...never sugarcoated...deeply moving." ~~Booklist
"Fearless Confessions is such a dynamic guide to memoir writing it has inspired me to completely refine and retool the memoir I’m working on. Sue William Silverman, a faculty advisor at the Vermont College of Fine Arts, is an amazing master of the language. Her prose is as enjoyable as it is instructive. This should be an essential textbook of any creative writing course. She gives examples of memoir pieces and analyzes each one, showing how they work, why they’re powerful, and even why some fail to impress." ~~ 15-Minutes Magazine
"Ms. Silverman held her audience enthralled by her evocative speech and by her sensitive answers to questions. One of the most difficult tasks in a reading of such a memoir is to project the feeling of an abused and terrorized child to an audience. Ms. Silverman achieves her goal with skill and warmth." ~~Brendan F. Gilbane, Dean, CGS, Boston University
A PERSONAL MESSAGE FROM SUE
I was born in Washington, D. C., where my father was a high government official in the Truman administration. Later, we moved to the West Indies where he was president of a bank. He was also a child molester. The juxtaposition of this double life—seemingly perfect in public, dark and scary in private—is what I write about in my memoir, Because I Remember Terror, Father, I Remember You. In my second memoir, Love Sick: One Woman's Journey Through Sexual Addiction, I show how I replicated this double life as an adult. In public, all seemed fine—I attended Boston University, worked on Capitol Hill, was married. But this image was a mask that hid my secret world of sexual encounters with dangerous men, a shadowy life of obsession.
From about 1980 to 1992, I tried to tell my story as fiction. Looking back, I realize that the five or six (unpublished) novels I wrote during this time lacked an authentic voice. It was my therapist, ironically, who finally suggested I write my own story. At first I resisted. I had never considered nonfiction and thought I had nothing to say about myself. Finally, just to humor him (I told myself), I acquiesced, even though I believed I'd only be able to write a paragraph at the most. Maybe a page. The moment I began to write "Terror, Father," however, I felt as if I'd just learned to speak, that I heard my real voice for the first time. I completed the manuscript in three months. And even though it took much longer to write Love Sick, I was finally writing what I knew. One thing I most love about writing memoirs, is that they provide me the opportunity to meet many courageous women. In fact, the responses that mean the most to me come in whispered phone calls and handwritten notes from my readers who thank me for telling their stories, too.
Now, with Fearless Confessions: A Writer's Guide to Memoir, I share my experiences learning how to write, with the hope it'll help and encourage you to tell your story, too.
For more information about my books, click on the titles on the right-hand column.