Photo by Steve Ladner,

Photo by Steve Ladner,

Janet Benton began writing early and 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. She holds an M.F.A. in English/fiction writing from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst and a B. A. in religious studies from Oberlin College. After working at magazines, newspapers, and publishers and teaching writing at four universities, she began The Word Studio ( to offer workshops and mentoring to writers. She's also a mother, wife, and singer. Click here to read an interview with her in Publisher's Weekly, March 2017, called "Mothers of the Past: PW Talks with Janet Benton." 


  • ESSAY, "In storytelling, finding joy and understanding" (my title had been "The Weight of a Story), in Sunday Commentary section, March 19, 2017, in the Philadelphia Inquirer. 
  • ESSAY, "A Feminist's Daughter Finds Love in the Kitchen," October 6, 2013: "On Mother’s Day last spring, my 10-year-old daughter listed some things she loves about having me as her mother."  Read more in the New York Times.
  • STORY, "Instructions for Failure," 2013 Pushcart Prize nominee: "Day after day the frogs stayed nearly motionless, the male on the female's back, his front legs wrapped around her neck, her front legs clinging to the rim of one of the old bathtubs we'd made into lily ponds."  Read more in Switchback.

  • STORY, "The Reason I'm Here," Fall 2013: "My parents grew up in New York City apartment buildings where adults whispered of genocide and war."   Read more starting on page 92 of Tulane Review.
  • ESSAY, "In the Name of Fairness, Don't Erase Women's History," lead piece in Sunday Commentary sectionMarch 20, 2016. Read in the Philadelphia Inquirer. 

  • DOCUMENTARY, script editor and team member for "Fever: 1793." Episode 2 in the series Philadelphia: The Great Experiment.  Aired on 6ABCWinner of three Mid-Atlantic Emmy Awards. Click title to watch.
  • MOCK-REJECTION of Nathaniel Hawthorne's novel about an unwed mother, The Scarlet Letter. Published in Writer's Digest in 2016.