Photo by Steve Ladner, steveladner.com

Photo by Steve Ladner, steveladner.com


Janet Benton began writing early and has worked hard to give books a central place in her life. Her debut novel, LILLI DE JONG, is the diary of an unwed Quaker mother in 1883 Philadelphia who decides to try to keep her baby. It was one of LIBRARY JOURNAL's and NPR's Best Books 2017 and a semifinalist for the Goodreads Choice Awards and has received many additional honors. It is available in paperback, hardcover, audio book, e-book, and large print editions. Janet's work has appeared in the New York Times, the Philadelphia Inquirer, and elsewhere. She holds an M.F.A. from the Univ. of Massachusetts, Amherst and a B. A. in religious studies from Oberlin College. Janet has worked hard to give books a central place in her life. Her family history has made her highly aware of the power of the mother-infant bond and of the need to stand up for outcasts. After working at magazines, newspapers, and publishers and teaching writing at four universities, she began The Word Studio (www.thewordstudio.us) to offer workshops and mentoring to writers. She loves to interact with readers by Skype, online, and in person. Feel free to get in touch via the Contact tab on this site.  

SELECTED NONFICTION

  • ESSAY, "What Makes a Story 'Big' or 'Small'?" July 13, 2018, on Signature Reads. (Read here.)

  • ESSAY, "A Feminist's Daughter Finds Love in the Kitchen," October 6, 2013. Read in the New York Times.

  • ESSAY, "In storytelling, finding joy and understanding," Sunday Commentary section, March 19, 2017, in the Philadelphia Inquirer.

  • ESSAY, "7 Works of Historical Fiction That Changed Me," July 13, 2018, on Knopf Doubleday Reading Group Center.

  • ESSAY, "Stories Have Made Me Who I Am," July 9, 2018, on Read Her Like an Open Book.

  • ESSAY, "The Power of a Diary," May 16, 2017, on Read Her Like an Open Book.

  • ESSAY, “What Makes Readers Open Their Minds and Bodies to a Story,” May 18, 2017, in Signature: Making Well-Read Sense of the World (read text here).

  • ESSAY, "In the Name of Fairness, Don't Erase Women's History," lead piece in Sunday Commentary sectionMarch 20, 2016, in the Philadelphia Inquirer. (Read article text here.)

  • DOCUMENTARY, script co-writer for "Promise for a Better City (1944-1964)." Episode 3 in the series Philadelphia: The Great Experiment. Aired on 6ABC. Click title to watch.

  • DOCUMENTARY, script editor and team member for "Fever: 1793." Episode 2 in the series Philadelphia: The Great Experiment. Aired on 6ABC. Winner of three Mid-Atlantic Emmy Awards. Click title to watch.