Noelle Oxenhandler

Professor Creative Writing (Creative Non-Fiction)

Noelle Oxenhandler
Noelle Oxenhandler


(707) 664-2056


Nichols 361

Office Hours

Office Hours By Appointment Only

Advising Area

Creative Writing

What I Do at SSU

Within the field of Creative Non-Fiction, I teach such courses as:  The Personal Essay and Memoir.  I also teach a wide range of other courses, including:  Introduction to Creative Writing, Screenwriting, a Cross-Genre Workshop for graduate students, Modern World Literature, and Women Writers.  I especially love to work one-on-one with students on their non-fiction writing projects, whether in “Directed Writing” or “Thesis Continuation.”  In this context, I often work with students from outside the English Department—in fields as varied as Anthropology, Psychology and Environmental Studies.   Whether I am working with beginning or very sophisticated writers, I am fascinated by the process of spinning the straw of personal experience into the gold of literary art.


Noelle Oxenhandler attended Oberlin College for two years, then transferred to the University of California at Santa Cruz where she received her B.A. with Highest Honors in Philosophy and Religious Studies.  She then received an M.A. from the University of Toronto in Philosophy and a second M.A. in Creative Writing, with an emphasis in Poetry, from the State University of New York at Brockport.  Before becoming a full-time faculty member at Sonoma State in 2001, she was a regular guest-teacher in the Graduate Writing Program at Sarah Lawrence College in New York.  She has published three full-length works of non-fiction and her essays have been published in a wide range of national and literary magazines, including The New YorkerThe New York Times MagazineThe San Francisco Chronicle MagazineVOGUETricycleOPRAH Magazine and the Utne Reader.  

Noelle Oxenhandler’s three full-length works of non-fiction are:  A Grief Out of Season (Little Brown, 1991); The Eros of Parenthood (St. Martin’s, 2001) and The Wishing Year (Random House, 2008).  Her work has been has been listed in The Best Essays of the Year and has been included in both The Best Spiritual Essays and The Best Buddhist Essays of the Year.   Her essays have been anthologized in such collections as:  Between WorldsHow We Want to Live:  Seventeen Distinguished Writers on the Meaning of Progress in Their Own LivesAt Work In Life’s Garden; and Paris Was Ours.  She has worked closely with Jack Kornfield on his books The Wise Heart and The Buddha Is Still Teaching.  For a more complete listing of her work, you can visit her website at