Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book


Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  Sandi Wisenberg  

Pen Name: S.L. Wisenberg

Genre:

Audience: Adult;

Born: 1955 in Houston, Texas


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Illinois Connection

Wisenberg lives near Wrigley Field in Chicago. She has taught at Northwestern Illinois University in DeKalb, Ragdale in Lake Forest, School of the Art Institute of Chicago and DePaul and Roosevelt both in Chicago. She has published graphic art in the Chicago Tribune and Crain's Chicago Business.

Biographical and Professional Information

Wisenberg was born and raised in Houston, but has lived much of her adult life in Chicago. She is a writer, teacher, editor and writing coach. She is also the creative nonfiction editor of Another Chicago Magazine and co-director of Northwestern's MA/MFA in Creative Writing program. She also teaches at the University of Chicago's Graham School of General Studies, in the certificate program for creative writing.


Published Works Expand for more information


Titles At Your Library

The Sweetheart Is In
ISBN: 0810151243

Triquarterly. 2001

The yearnings of a little sister, the hazy memories of a concentration camp liberator, and the romantic entanglements of political activists are portrayed in The Sweetheart Is In, S.L. Wisenberg's first collection of short stories. Each of these edgy, lyrical stories creates its own universe in the space of a few pages even while overlapping characters and themes.

Holocaust Girls: History, Memory, and Other Obsessions
ISBN: 0803298668

Bison Books. 2006

This bracing and vivid collection of essays gives voice to what some American Jews feel but don't express about their uneasy state of mind. These essays creatively and sometimes audaciously address the question of what it means to be an American Jew trying to negotiate overlapping identities—woman, writer, and urban intellectual in search of a moral way. S.L. Wisenberg’s deeply ambivalent connection with the Holocaust reappears throughout these essays as she struggles to find a way to live with history without being swallowed by it.

The Adventures of Cancer Bitch
ISBN: 1587298023

University Of Iowa Press. 2009

Wisenberg may have lost a breast, but she retained her humor, outrage, and skepticism toward common wisdom and most institutions. While following the prescribed protocols at the place she called Fancy Hospital, Wisenberg is unsparing in her descriptions of the fumblings of new doctors, her own awkward announcement to her students, and the mounds of unrecyclable plastic left at a survivors’ walk. Combining the personal with the political, she shares her research on the money spent on pink ribbons instead of preventing pollution, and the disparity in medical care between the insured and the uninsured. When chemotherapy made her bald, she decorated her head with henna swirls in front and an antiwar protest in back. During treatment, she also recorded the dailiness of life in Chicago as she rode the L, taught while one-breasted, and attended High Holiday services and a Passover seder.

Wisenberg’s writing has been compared to a mix of Leon Wieseltier and Fran Lebowitz, and in this book, she has Wieseltier’s erudition and Lebowitz’s self-deprecating cleverness: “If anybody ever offers you the choice between suffering and depression, take the suffering. And I don't mean physical suffering. I mean emotional suffering. I am hereby endorsing psychic suffering over depression.”

From The Adventures of Cancer Bitch:

I found that when you invite people to a pre-mastectomy party, they show up. Even those with small children. The kids were so young that they didn't notice that most of the food had nipples. . . . I talked to everyone—about what I'm not sure. Probably about my surgery. Everyone told me how well I looked. I felt giddy. I was going to go under, but not yet I was going to be cut, but not yet I was going to be bald, but not yet. As my friend who had bladder cancer says: The thing about cancer is you feel great until they start treating you for it.


Speaking Engagements

Speaking Engagement Availability (Yes)