Phyllis Theroux is an essayist, columnist, teacher and author. Born in San Francisco, California, she is the critically acclaimed author of California and Other States of Grace, a memoir, two collections of essays, Peripheral Visions and Nightlights: Bedtime Stories for Parents in the Dark and an anthology, The Book of Eulogies. Her first children’s book, Serefina Under the Circumstances, was published by Greenwillow Press. In 2002 a novella, Giovanni’s Light, was published at Christmas. Her newest book, The Journal Keeper: A Memoir, was published by Grove Atlantic in March 2010.
A contributing essayist on the Newshour with Jim Lehrer from 1992 – 1996, her columns, op-ed pieces, reviews and feature stories have appeared in various newspapers including The New York Times, Washington Post, Christian Science Monitor, and International Herald Tribune. In the 1970’s she was a frequent contributor to the “Hers” column in the New York Times. In the l980’s, she was a monthly columnist for Parents Magazine . In the l990’s she wrote a monthly column for House Beautiful. Her essays continue to be anthologized in numerous collections.
Following the publication of The Book of Eulogies, in 1997 she created “The Great American Portraits Program” which was sponsored by the Library of Congress and toured various cities in the United States. She has been a guest professor and lecturer at numerous forums, colleges and universities.
The founder of Nightwriters, which conducts writing and creativity seminars in the United States and abroad, she occasionally conducts one-on-one editorial seminars with individual writers who come to spend time working in her writer’s cottage in Ashland, Virginia.
A community activist and educator, in 1989, she formed a non-profit organization (“Winners in Grade School”) to attract grants and support an inner-city Washington, D. C. elementary school where she taught creative writing to fifth graders between 1989 – 1993. During that time she created a consortium of private schools to be partners in education with the school.
A graduate of Manhattanville College, with a B.A. in Philosophy, she lives with her husband, Ragan Phillips in Ashland, Virginia.