Phyllis Barber

Phyllis Barber, Writing for Peace Adviser

Phyllis Barber, Author, Educator

I joined Writing for Peace because I always believed that harmony between people is possible (maybe because I was the middle child who was always trying to balance the family dynamics). If only we can listen to what other people are saying and learn to receive them, rather than rebuffing them straightaway for some ridiculous reasons such as difference in education, economic level, religious affiliation, gender, color, shape of the face or the torso or feet, etc. I have found when I can open my awareness to another person and literally open up to who and what they are all about, a significant change happens between us—a connection at the level of spirit, that mysterious essence so much larger and wiser than we are.

~Phyllis Barber

Phyllis Barber, a native of Nevada and now a resident of Park City, Utah, writes about the West, the desert, the Mormons who played a significant role in settling the West and creating the person she’s become, and about matters of the spirit with its familiar and unfamiliar reaches. She’s dedicated to a face-to-face writing style inspired by her commitment to being honestly alive, by accepting the reality of “what is,” and by speaking her truth as she understands it. A risk-taking writer, she writes frankly and unblinkingly about the jagged, unpredictable edges of things. She is also a consummate artist with the written word.

For over thirty five years, she’s been writing award-winning stories, articles, essays, and books, in addition to  being the mother of four sons, teaching fiction and creative nonfiction in the MFA in Writing Program at the Vermont College of Fine Arts (from which she recently retired), riding her bicycle 1,000 miles across the Midwest, traveling the world, reading across a wide spectrum of books, serving as a community volunteer, playing the piano professionally, and accompanying a diverse variety of musicians. In 2005, she was inducted into the Nevada Writers Hall of Fame.

Her latest book, Raw Edges: A Memoir, was released by the University of Nevada Press in March of 2010, and was listed as one of the Outstanding University Press Books of 2010 by Foreword Reviews’ print magazine. Her hope is that the book will be useful to those who’ve traveled the sometimes difficult path through marriage, divorce, and coming to terms with one’s unexpected self. The book is now available in paperback and on Amazon Kindle.

Barber is the author of seven books (a novel about the building of the Hoover Dam, two books of short stories, two children’s books, and two memoirs, one of which, How I Got Cultured, won the Associated Writers and Writing Program Award for Creative Nonfiction in 1991). Her latest book, Gentle Fire: A Spiritual Odyssey is due out from Quest Books in May, 2014. It is a collection of essays based on her travels to a variety of spiritual practices, both traditional and non-traditional, in an attempt to find the Spirit that dwells in all people to one degree or another. Her desire is to help create harmony and understanding between people of seemingly opposing ideas and sensibilities. She has taught creative writing for the Vermont College of Fine Arts MFA in Writing Program for 19 years, and is currently residing in Park City, Utah, where she writes, edits, and critiques manuscripts for other writers.


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