Ongoing Events

Past Events

April 10, 8 pm.
Reading new fiction at Amherst Books. Part of the Amherst Creative Writing Department Spring 2018 reading series. https:/​/​

June 11, 7 pm
8th annual Writing Room Reading: participants in the writing room give brief readings. I facilitate and participate.
Forbes Library

Guest Lecture, Global Valley, Amherst College. October 19, 2017, 10 to 11:30

Readercon 28
July 15, 2017
Panel, Embracing Artistic Risk
with Terri Bruce, Susan Matthews, Sarah Smith, Sally Winer Grotta
Quincy Marriott
Quincy, MA

Forbes Library Writing Room Reading. Wed, May 31, 2017 7 pm

Invited Talk, Fatness, Appropriate Technology for the World, Hampshire College, 2.21.17. 10:30-12. Lemulson Shop.

Oct 8, 8:30 - 9:50, 101 Chapin Hall. Guest Lecture, Spider in a Tree. Global Valley. Amherst College. Prof. Karen Sanchez-Eppler, Prof. Frank Couvares.

September 18, 2016 4 pm
Gallery of Readers series
Neilson Browsing Room
Smith College, Northampton, MA
with John M. Corbett

June 1, 2016. 7 pm. Forbes Library Writing Room reading. Reading and moderator. Coolidge Museum, Forbes Library, Northampton, MA.

May 4, 2016 7 pm
Reading in the Real/​Surreal series
Considering Disability evening
Calvin Coolidge Museum
Forbes Library
with Katherine Duke and Claire Batchford

Sunday May 1 2016
3-5 pm
Balancing Solitude and Community in a Writer's Life
Conversation with Susan Stinson and Mistinguette Smith
sponsored by
Straw Dogs Writer Guild.
Location Friends Meeting House
43 Center St.
Northampton, MA

Tuesday, April 26, 1 pm.
Fellows talk, American Antiquarian Society
Researching Elizabeth Tuttle Edwards
for novel-in-progress, Tuttle, A True and Wondrous Relation of a Mother Pursued
Worcester, MA

Spider in a Tree Book Group discussion in honor of the 200th book read by the Florence Men's Book Group. April 2016. Florence, MA.

Sunday, March 13, 2016. 1-3 pm
7 Minutes: A Literary Arts Spotlight
Springfield City Library
220 State St, Springfield, Massachusetts 01103
curated by Maria Luisa Arroyo.
Other readers to be announced.

Keynote (Afternoon.)
Not in Polite Company panel

Sat. October 17, 2015
Mt. Holyoke College
Panel: Not in Polite Company, Writing Thorny Issues in Fiction
with Ellen Metropol and other TBA

September 15, 2015, 2:30 pm
Lathrop Community
Northampton, MA
Spider in a Tree reading and talk

Cemetery Tour, Bridge Street Cemetery
Ward Three Association
Sat, June 13, 2015 11 am

Women's History Month Reading/​Lecture, Canisius College. Buffalo, NY
March 10, 2015.

The Blue Guitar
Sat, 12/​6, 7:30 pm.
First Saturday Soiree
Susan reading with Dan Levy.
Guitar: Bill O'Haire.
Interactive literary event $10.
186 Northampton St., Easthampton 01027

Wed, Oct 8, 7 pm
Spider in a Tree reading and talk.
Grace Episcopal Church
14 Boltwood Ave, Amherst, MA
All welcome.

Sept 20, 4 pm
Book Launch Poetry reading
Paradise Found: a walking and biking tour of Northampton through poetry and art
R. Michelson Gallery

Writing Life Discussion
Wed, 7/​9
7 to 8:30 pm, Coolidge Room
Forbes Library
For Writers working on longterm projects

Writing Life Discussion
Wed, 8/​6
7 to 8:30 pm, Community Room
Forbes Library
For Writers working on longterm projects

March 18
Living as an Artist and Writer,the Women's Center, Dickinson College
Carlisle, PA
Fat Studies, American Studies, Women's Studies, History, Religious Studies, Creative Writing Center
5 pm: Spider in a Tree reading, Whistlestop Bookshop

March 15
Guest lecture, Spider in a Tree
History, Sexuality and Literature
Amherst College

Reading, Amherst College
Amherst, MA
Wednesday, November 13
8 pm.
Amherst Books

San Diego State University
Wed, October 30, 2-4 pm
Sponsored by History, English and Comparative Literature, Religious Studies, Master of Arts, Literature and Science Program.

Santa Clara University
Santa Clara, CA
American Studies program, Reading
Wed Oct 23, noon

Tues, October 15, 6:30 pm

Yale Divinity School, Edwards Room
New Haven, CT
Mon, Oct 14, 12 -1 pm

Oct 2, 2013, 7 pm
Reading, First Churches, Northampton, MA
(That's the congregation where Jonathan Edwards preached!)
Sponsored by Forbes Library, First Churches and Small Beer Press.
Books for sale by Broadside Books
Introduction by Sally Bellerose. Welcome by the Rev. Todd Weir
7 pm

Jonathan Edwards in Northampton
Walking Tour of the Bridge Street Cemetery, Northampton, MA
Sat Oct 5 1 pm
tickets: $5
Available at Broadside Books

Sept 26, 2013
Beowulf, readings and beer
High Horse, Amherst, MA
sponsored by The Common Magazine

Writing Room Reading. Wednesday June 5, 7 pm
Forbes Library, Coolidge Room
Short readings from writers who use the room.

Shape&Nature Fundraiser/​Party
Bishop's Lounge
Sunday, June 2nd, 5-9 pm
Reading (I'm reading at 6, 15 minutes)
with Amy Dryansky, Jed Berry, Rich Michelson, others.
$10 door.

Reading: Hanne Blank, Lesley Kinzel and Susan Stinson
Friday, May 24
$10-$20* sliding scale at the door
Athenaeum Building
215 First St., Kendall Square, Cambridge, MA
Books for sale and to be signed by the authors

Feb 16, 2013
Workshop: Researching a Novel
Writer's Day
Bay Path College
Longmeadow, MA

Fri, Nov 30, 2012 10 am Books in the Electronic Age Forbes Library, Coolidge Museum. Panel. discusion moderated by Dee Michel. With Nancy Felton, Broadside Books; Gavin Grant, Small Beer Press, David Kelm, book artist and me.

Sat Oct 13, Reading and interview, The River Runs Through Us. Series of radio programs on the Connecticut River as metaphor. The Writer's Voice. Drew Adamek and Francesca Rhiannon. WMUA 91.1 FM. (And, I think, on more than 20 stations throughout the country.) Check local listings for times: http:/​/​​
And/​or check back for link to podcast and website.

Wed, Oct 10 7 pm. Introducing Leslea Newman, who will read from her new book of poetry, October Mourning: A song for Matthew Shepard.

Sun Oct 7, 1 pm
Rain or shine!
Jonathan Edwards Walking Tour
Bridge Street Cemetery
also featuring Sylvester Graham and Sally Maminash
Northampton, MA
Free! All welcome.
Part of the Forbes Library Local History/​Local Novelist series

Writing Life Discussions
Community Room, Forbes Library
Mon July 9, 7 pm
Topic: Creating Access for Ourselves and Each Other

All writers working on long-term projects welcome.

Writing Room Reading
Wed, June 13, 7 pm
Coolidge Museum, Forbes Library
Northampton, MA

Writing Life Discussions
Community Room, Forbes Library
Mon, June 11, 2012 7 pm
Topic: Beautiful Ambitions

All writers working on long-term projects welcome.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012
Forbes Library
Evening inspired by Sylvester Graham
Stephen Nissenbaum, Lynne Gerber and Susan Stinson
part of the 2011/​2012 Local History/​Local Novelists series

April 27, 2012
Issue 3 launch
party and reading
Amherst, MA
Alumni House, Amherst College
reading, with Brad Leithauser
7:00 pm
drinks and refreshments. All welcome.

October 2011 - May 2012
Local History/​Local Novelist Series
Coolidge Museuam, Forbes Library, Northampton, MA
Curator and Moderator
7 pm, 1st Wed in the month.
Topics include: Vietnam War, Sally Maminash, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Grace Coolidge, Celebration of local novelists, Newton Arvin, Sylvester Graham. Speakers include Doug Anderson, Sabina Murray, Ellen Meeropol, Jedediah Berry, Marge Bruchac, Neal Salisbury, Tom Weiner, Peggy Perri and others.

April 11-15, Boston
Panel: Religious and Moral Dimensions of Attitudes Toward Fatness, Fri, 4/​13, 1:15, Salon A, Boston Marriott, Copley Place

Saturday, March 24, 10-4
Author Fair
Springfield City Library
Central Library, Rotunda
Buy books, get them signed,
ask questions.
220 State Street, Springfield.

Mon, March 5, 8:09 AM
Radio Commentary, News with Bob Flaherty
WHMP 1400 AM
Monthly Bookswap
most recent: Tales of the New World, Mon, 1/​30, 8:09 am

Sunday, January 29
Essalon Cafe, Hadley, MA
Poetry reading with Susan Stinson & Janet Aalfs

Friday, Jan 27, 2012, 8 am
Legistlative Breakfast in Support of Western MA Libraries
Telling Our Stories
Forbes Library, Northampton, MA

Saturday, October 22, 2011
Mt. Holyoke College
Moderator, Shaping Stories, a craft panel on plot with panelists Emily Arsenault, Sally Bellerose and Andrea Hairston. Jane Yolen and Valerie Martin keynote.

October 9, 2011, 1 pm
Cemetery Tour
Bridge Street Cemetery
Northampton, MA
Sponsored by Forbes Library
Focus on Jonathan Edwards, with highlighted visits to the graves of Sally Maminash and Sylvester Graham, both of whom have inspired evenings in the 2011/​12 Local History/​Local Novelists Reading series at Forbes.

Monday,Aug 15, 7 pm.
Writing Life discussion series
Moderate as Writer in Residence.
Aug topic: managing time
Last in a three part summer series.
For writers working on long-term projects.Past topics:June 20,models;July 18,process/​presentation

Forbes Library Writing Room Reading
with writers from the Writing Room
(moderated by Susan Stinson as Writer in Residence)
Wednesday, June 8, 7 pm
Coolidge Room
Northampton, MA

Received Outstanding Mid-Career Novelist Award.
Among others honored at the ceremony: Edward Albee, Val McDermid, Alex Sanchez, Eileen Myles.

Voice From Inside

Sun, March 27, 2-4, Look Park.
Event to benefit creative writing programs for incarcerated and formerly incarcerated women. I'll be reading a poem by a participant who can't be there. The event is free and donations are greatly appreciated. rsvp by 3/​18 to Sara Weinberg, spw128@​

Northampton Pride
Saturday, May 7
2 pm Reading and Prize announcement

Guest Lecture
Queer Historical Writing
Amherst College
March 10, 2011 11:30

Wednesday October 6, 2010, 7 pm
Forbes Library

Local History/​Local Novelists Series Focus:Jonathan Edwards
Kenneth Minkema, Director of the Jonathan Edwards Center at Yale
Elise Bernier Feeley, Hampshire Room, Forbes Library
Susan Stinson, novelist and Forbes Writer in Residence
Curated and moderated entire, Oct 2009 - May 2010

First in a series, First Wednesday of the month, October through May

Sunday, October 3
Walking Tour of Bridge Street Cemetery
Northampton, MA

Focused on Jonathan Edwards and 18th Century Northampton. Come in the entrance and look for the red trike. Sponsored by Forbes Library and the JESociety Jonathan Edwards for the New Millenium Conference.

Novel Excerpt, Enfield, 1741
Jonathan Edwards for the New Millenium Conference Oct 1-2, 2010
Sat, Oct 2, 12:20 to 1 pm
First Churches, 120 Main Street
Northampton, MA

Sept 27, 2010
Guest Lecture: Size Politics
Course: Women, Agriculture and Food in the Global Context
Mt. Holyoke College
South Hadley, MA

The Writing Life

Fourth Monday of the month,
May through August 2010, 7-8 pm
Community Room, Forbes Library, Northampton, MA

This was a summer series of drop-in facilitated discussion groups for people working on long-term writing projects such as novels, poetry collections, collections of short stories and memoirs. It was lovely.

Wednesday May 12, 2010, 7 pm
Forbes Library Writer in Residence Reading
Diana Gordon and Susan Stinson
Coolidge Museum
Forbes Library, Northampton, MA

Wednesday, April 21, 7 pm
Coolidge Museum, Forbes Libary
Northampton, MA

Hear a Poet, There a Poet: A Pioneer Valley Anthology
with editor Lesléa Newman,
Janet Aalfs, Sally Bellerose, Floyd Cheung, Oonagh Doherty, Diana Gordon, Tzivia Gover, Andrea Hairston, Janet MacFadyen, Rich Michelson, Mary Clare Powell, among others.

Saturday, April 17, 2 pm
Annual Trustees Award
Calvin Coolidge Presidential Museum
Forbes Library, Northampton, MA

April 13. 2010
Guest Lecture
Reading of fiction and poetry
centered on the lives of fat women
Course: Medical Management of the Female Body
Mt. Holyoke College
South Hadley, MA

Tuesday, October 13, 2009
Guest Lecture
Course: Sexuality and the English Novel
Amherst College

Monday, October 12, 2009
Interview, The Writer's Voice Radio Show
WMUA; Producer and Host: Francesca Rhiannon

Saturday, October 9, 2009
Millay Colony Reading
with current residents Thomas Smith, Azareen der Vliet Oloomi, Melissa Sandor and Darren Floyd
The Spotty Dog Books and Ale
440 Warren Street
Hudson, NY
6-7 pm

Saturday, October 3, 2009,
10 am
Bridge Street Cemetery Tour
We'll focus on people and stories revelant to the life and times of Jonathan Edwards in Northampton. Come in the entrance on Parsons Street and look for the red tricycle. If you'd like to bring cameras to help document the event, that would be great.

7 pm
First Churches
A reading in honor of the birthday of Jonathan Edwards at the church where he preached in the eighteenth century.

Wed, November 5, 2008, 7 pm
Size Matters
Smith College
Northampton, MA


Conference: Jonathan Edwards on
Beauty in Art, Nature & God

Friday, October 3, 2008
reading from Spider in a Tree

Conference, Oct 3-5
Jonathan Edwards Meetinghouse
129 Main Street
Northampton, MA

Full Body Symposium
Saturday, November 3rd, 2007
R. Michelson Galleries
Northampton, MA

Reading as part of a day of events in conjunction with the publication of the Full Body Project Book, photographs by Leonard Nimoy. With Leslea Newman, Abby Ellin and Kelli Dunham.

Discussion of Spider in a Tree
October 10, 2007
Sexuality and History in the Contemporary Novel
Amherst College, Amherst, MA

Jonathan Edwards and the Environment Conference
Reading, Saturday, October 6, 3:20-4:10
Conference October 5-7
First Churches, Northampton, MA

Jonathan Edwards in Europe participant
Karoli Gaspar University
Budapest, Hungary
May 7-9, 2007

Popular Culture in the
Fat Studies Reader with Amy Farrell, Esther Rothblum, 781 Fat Studies IX
Northeastern Room
Sat April 7,2:30-4 pm
Marriot Copley Place
Boston, MA

February 21, 2007
Guest Lecture, Intro to Cultural Anthropology
Mt. Holyoke College
South Hadley, MA

October 7, 2006
Reading: 2 pm (events all day)
Jonathan Edwards Conference
First Churches
Northampton, MA

August 11-13, 2006
San Francisco, CA

Assoc. for Size Diversity and Health Conference
June 23-25, 2006
Case Western Reserve University
Cleveland, OH

Smith College, Northampton, MA
Reading and speaking
Sunday, April 9, 12:30-1:30
Davis Ballroom

Smith College, Northampton, MA
Love Your Body Day
Sat, February 18, 2 pm
Campus Center

Saturday, September 17, 2005, 4pm.
A.P.E. Gallery, 3rd floor Thornes, Main St., Northampton. Toni Brown, Janet Mason, Janet Aalfs, Sally Bellerose, and Susan Stinson.

July 9, 2005, 6 pm
Food for Thought Books
Amherst, MA
106 N.Pleasant Street
Amherst, MA 01002
Tel: 413-253-5432

Wednesday, June 15
with Stacey D'Erasmo, Damian McNicholl and Alison Smith
Time/​Life Building, Manhattan

May 1, 2005 --
Book signing, Northampton Pride Rally
Location: Pride&Joy Booth, Veteran's Field Road, Northampton, MA
Time: 2:30-3

April 28, 2005—Lambda Award Reading —New York
Location: New York Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Center, 208 West 13th St. NW
Time: 7 - 9 p.m.

Thursday, March 17, 7pm
A Different Light Bookstore
489 Castro St.
San Francisco, CA

Tuesday, March 15, 7pm
The Laurel Bookstore
4100 Macarthur Blvd
Oakland, CA

Saturday March 12, 2005:
Writers with Drinks Spoken Word Variety Show
The Make-Out Room 3225 22nd. St., San Francisco CA
7:30-9:30 pm

Sunday, February 13, 2005
Savage Beauties
Benefit for the Millay Colony
376 9th St. (corner of 6th Ave.)
Park Slope, Brooklyn
3-6 pm


I am ready to engage with the writing, editing needs, mentoring needs and practical dilemmas of other writers. Please email me at susan@​ to request a rate sheet . Thanks!

Writing and Editing

Fiction, nonfiction, poetry, memoir.
Books, essays, reviews, papers, articles, stories, poems, projects.
Cover letters, speeches, book proposals, web content.


I also support writers using a longterm mentoring model. Contact me at susan@​ for rates and more information.

Project Planning

Help with developing,sustaining and finishing projects. Designed to help writers set goals, plan projects, identify specific steps, and discover what inspires them to keep working.

Individual sessions of fifty minutes, in person or by phone. Single sessions, weekly or customize a schedule.

Contact me at susan@​ for rates.

What People Say About Working With Susan

Susan is a very fine writer who has also done superb editing on my work and has been sunny, practical and convincing in urging me on.
Nancy Folbre
The Invisible Heart: Economics and Family Values (The New Press, nonfiction)
recipient, MacArthur Fellowship

Susan’s expertise and respect for the written word and the writer make her a pleasure to work with. Her editorial skills and creative spark have inspired and improved my writing for over twenty years. She brings the same eloquence, commitment, and hard work evident in her own stunning prose to her collaborations. Susan is a great writer and coach who cares deeply about the work of others.
Sally Bellerose, The Girls Club (Bywater Books, novel, 2011)
Recipient, National Endowment for the Arts literature fellowship

The most exciting thing about Susan as an editor and coach is how good she is at helping me find my own voice. She was great help with my book proposal, and worked with me to create a doable writing plan with clear strategiees for how to accomplish my tasks. I think she’s the best.
Linda Stout
Collective Visioning: Creating the World We Want to Live In (nonfiction,Berrett-Koehler, 2011)

Susan has a special and powerful combination for a writing coach; she points you toward the necessary hard work to be done while cheering on your good work and filling you with inspiration for what lies ahead. I left every session with Susan more energized and resourceful. I was able to write and to revise (never my favorite thing!). I completed long poem cycles and deepened my identity as a writer. I highly recommend working with Susan. You will grow as a writer and you will laugh and enjoy yourself while doing so.
Carolyn Cushing, poet

I've worked with Susan throughout my academic career, from selecting and applying to graduate school to selecting, researching, writing, and completing a doctoral dissertation. Her advice has always been spot-on and her immense writing and editing skills have markedly improved both the dissertation and numerous published articles. But what I most appreciate about Susan is the wide range of her support. She attends not just to the details of my work, but to the vision and passion that inspires it as well, ensuring that both remain vibrant through long haul of long projects. I can't recommend her highly enough.
Lynne Gerber, Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley.
Seeking The Straight and Narrow: Weight Loss and Sexual Reorientation in Evangelical America (nonfiction, University of Chicago Press, 2011).

Susan has been key in writing successful grants and building better organizations. Her writing and organizational skills are invaluable. She's great at figuring out next steps to move projects forward while keeping an eye on the big picture.
James Heintz, Field Guide to the US Economy

Spider in a Tree book launch photo: Jeep Wheat


Readings, Lectures, Classroom talks, Workshops, Speeches

Jonathan Edwards
18th Century Women's Lives in the Connecticut River Valley
Researching a Novel
Life as a Writer
Writing Fiction and Poetry: Various Topics on Literary Craft
Unshelved: Writer in Residence at a Public Library
Fatness: Perspectives on Body Size

Contact me at susan@​ for rates.

Bridge Street Cemetery, photo: Jody Wheat

Northampton History Tours

Bridge Street cemetery walking tours.
Can be focused on:
Local history in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries
Jonathan Edwards
Sylvester Graham
Local Women's History
Individuals or Groups

photo: Lynn Ellen Marcus

What people say about an event with Susan

"If you ever get the opportunity to hear author Susan Stinson read, run -- frantically -- and get a good seat. Stinson had the unique gift of taking her lilting, beautiful prose and flowing poetry and caressing the words with her sensuous, exciting voice. I saw her reading recently in San Francisco and was startled by her incredible power to lift her own words from the page, translating them into a stunning, energized performance. Susan Stinson is not just a writer of considerable talent, she is an event." - Icon Magazine, Toronto

"Because of the emotional impact of her work, people grasped the issues more quickly than usual, and talked with great candor about their lives and their feelings." - Miriam Berg, Council on Size and Weight Discrimination

"Stinson almost sings the words, moves to them, makes her hands dance. And by doing this, she breaks taboos...Go hear her, and you will think differently about fat." - Daily Hampshire Gazette

"Susan Stinson articulates all of the emotions and insights of growing up in a fat body, but also charts a path through the wilderness of self-hatred into healing and self-love." - NAAFA Newsletter

"Explicit, liberating, painful and wonderful! I've never heard anything like it." -Stonewall Center, University of Massachusetts, Amherst

"Gorgeously abundant and abundantly gorgeous are the words that come to mind when I think of Susan Stinson and her writing. She is a passionate, powerful and sensual reader, and anyone lucky enough to hear her will never forget her." - Leslea Newman, author

Selected Works

From Small Beer Press! "Like Jonathan Edwards, Stinson reads the natural world as well as Scripture, searching for meaning. But instead of the portents of an angry god, what she finds there is something numinous, complicated, and radiantly human." -Alison Bechdel
Single minded, indomitable Carline is on a fast bus to Texas. This is one ride you won't want to miss." -Alison Smith
I can think of no-one who writes with more love, passion, and precision about the pleasures of the body and the pleasures of the soul, and that nebulous intersection of body and soul.-Elizabeth McCracken
Susan Stinson's first novel is full of big, beautiful language and her main character, Char, is one of the best teenaged heroines I've ever met.-Judith Katz
Blog Posts
Blog posts about being Writer in Residence at Forbes Library
Letter to my young, queer self. As seen on The View.
Novel Excerpts
Blog Posts
Essays on Teaching as Community; Jonathan Edwards; Henry James; Fiction and Misdirection; and Poetry in Northampton for the Public Humanist, hosted by the Massachusetts Humanities Council.


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