Deanna Benjamin

Deanna Benjamin

Senior Lecturer in College Writing and University College
PhD, University of Missouri
MFA, Vermont College of Fine Arts

contact info:

mailing address:

  • College Writing Program
    MSC 1096-153-122
    Washington University
    1 Brookings Drive
    St. Louis, MO 63130-4899

Deanna Benjamin has taught critical and creative writing at Washington University since 2008. Her teaching focuses on theories of identity, memory, and storytelling, as well as the histories and structures of the essay, memoir, and lyric prose.  She is a co-chair for both the McLeod First-Year Writing Prize and for the Writing Identity theme and serves as a four-year advisor for the College of Arts & Sciences.

Featured Courses

College Writing: Writing Identity

What defines who we are and who we may become? How do class, gender, race, sexuality, and other social forces shape our identities? In what ways are our identities inherent or constructed, claimed or ascribed? In this course, we explore these and similar questions through the work of creative and critical writers, artists, and thinkers.

The Essay: From Montaigne to The New Yorker

The essay has a storied past and present and a variety of purposes. In this class, we trace the history of this form beginning with those long forgotten and not necessarily identified as essays and moving swiftly to present-day essays. We read works by such authors as Michel de Montaigne, Jonathan Swift, W. E. B. Du Bois, and Virginia Woolf, plus articles in 2020 issues of The New Yorker. We practice brief reflective and long formal essays, including a profile, a reportage, and a film review. By the end of the semester, students will have a good understanding of the essay's history and form and a good sensibility for writing it.