Megan Stielstra

Award winning essayist combats fear in all its forms with razor sharp wit.

Megan Stielstra is a writer, educator, and live storyteller in Chicago. She is the author of three collections of narrative nonfiction: Everyone Remain Calm, Once I Was Cool, and The Wrong Way to Save Your Life from Harper Perennial, winner of the 2017 Nonfiction Book of the Year from the Chicago Review of Books. Hailed by Roxane Gay as a “masterful essayist,” Megan’s work appears in the Best American Essays, New York Times, Chicago Tribune, The Believer, Longreads, Tin House, and elsewhere. A longtime company member with 2nd Story, she tells stories for festivals, performance series, and bars (many bars) across the country including National Public Radio, Poets & Writers Live, the Museum of Contemporary Art, Goodman Theatre, and regularly for the Paper Machete live news magazine at The Green Mill.

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Award winning essayist combats fear in all its forms with razor sharp wit.

Megan is faculty in the MFA Program in Prose and Poetry at Northwestern University and teaches writing through oral storytelling in community organizations across Chicago. She served for a decade as the Associate Director of the Center for Innovation and Teaching Excellence at Columbia College Chicago, supporting teachers in engaged pedagogy, curriculum development, and building inclusive classroom spaces. She has presented this work at numerous national conferences including Associated Writing Programs, SXSWedu, Imagining America, Theory to Practice, and multiple times for the Association of American Colleges & Universities, including their annual Diversity and Equity in Higher Education session in San Diego. She regularly visits universities across the country as both a visiting writer and a faculty development consultant.

PRAISE

"Whether she's talking about gun laws, a bear attack, or postpartum depression, Stielstra's clear voice calls for us to stay awake, and to pay attention."

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PRAISE

"She taught me that the opposite of fear isn’t courage. It’s kindness."

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"Are you obsessed with Megan Stielstra yet?"

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