PATTY DANN
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The first word I remember learning as a child was "eavesdrop" and whether I'm writing a novel or non-fiction, it all comes from a blend of memory and imagination. People often ask what it was like to have my first novel, "Mermaids," made into a movie with Cher, Winona Ryder, Bob Hoskins and Christina Ricci. It was remarkable, and perhaps the experience was magnified because I spent so many years working on that book.

I worked at a magazine, a book publisher, the A&E Television Network and a movie company before I turned to teaching and haven't stopped since. I have never ceased to be excited by my students' work. At first I taught memoir classes for people over fifty, but I have recently opened up my classes to all ages. Teaching fuels my writing and my writing is what guides my teaching.

Along with "Starfish" and "Mermaids," Dann has published another novel, "Sweet and Crazy," and two memoirs, "The Baby Boat: A Memoir of Adoption," and "The Goldfish Went on Vacation: A Memoir of Loss- and learning to tell the truth about it." Her books have been translated into Japanese, French, Dutch, Italian, German, Portuguese, Korean and Chinese.

Dann's work has appeared in "The New York Times," "O, The Oprah Magazine," "Redbook," "More," " Poets & Writers," " Forbes Woman," "The Philadelphia Inquirer," "The Chicago Tribune," "Christian Science Monitor," "The Oregon Quarterly," "The Writer's Handbook," "Dirt: An Anthology About Keeping House" and "This I Believe: On Motherhood."

Dann was cited by New York Magazine as one of the "Great Teachers of NYC." She has an MFA in Writing from Columbia University and a B.A. from the University of Oregon. She has taught at Sarah Lawrence College and the West Side YMCA.

Dann is married to journalist, Michael Hill and has one son and two stepsons.