Wendy Bilen is a believer in the universal power of narrative, in the idea that we find ourselves in each other's stories, that stories help us to mend, discover meaning, uncover the best parts of ourselves, and be fully alive.
As a creative nonfiction writer, she is drawn to the challenge of telling a true tale well. She studied creative nonfiction writing in the MFA program at George Mason University, where she had the privilege of working with Beverly Lowry, Susan Shreve, and the late Alan Cheuse. In 2008 Bilen published the award-winning Finding Josie and soon thereafter was granted a residency by the Ragdale Foundation and an Individual Artist Award by the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities. Her essays and articles have appeared in several magazines, journals, and newspapers, including the Washington Post, River Teeth, Literary Mama, Sojourners, Creative Nonfiction Sunday Short Reads, Sweet, Relief, the Laurel Review, and Women in Higher Education.
Since 2006, Bilen has taught at the women's college of Trinity Washington University in the District of Columbia. In the classroom and through extracurricular activities, her goal remains the same: helping students to find and strengthen their voices through solid writing. In 2008, she started a spoken word event called Speakin' it Real, which became one of the best-attended activities at Trinity and launched talent such as the popular DC poet Charity Blackwell. Bilen, along with her colleague Bill Beverly, also advises the student staff of the campus literary magazine.
She calls home a little plot just outside Washington, where she lives with her two daughters and her pug, all of whom infuse her life with joy. Sometimes she travels, plants things, dabbles in art. As a woman who has fought stage IIIC ovarian cancer since late 2015, she has learned to slow down and speed up at the same time, filling her days with more of the things she values: faith and mercy, beauty, adventures and sanctuaries.