Biography

Born in Johnson City, Tennessee, Susan Feathers began a 20-year journey as a member of a military family. At the end of WWII, she and her sisters became a roving tribe, following their parents to and from U.S. Air Force bases coast to coast and at Hickam AFB in Honolulu. That formative experience served as an inspiration for Feathers’ writing about the American landscape. A lifelong journalist, much of Susan’s early writing found its way into journals, stories, and correspondence with friends and family.

Feathers studied American Literature for her B.S. degree from East Tennessee State University, and Special Education for an M.S. degree from The University of Tennessee. Susan taught in public schools, community college, and informal education institutions (outdoor education). Susan continued studies at Columbia University, Barnard College, and Arizona State University in the areas of science and bioethics.

Encouraged by her college English and Philosophy professors, Susan served as the literary editor of her college yearbook, creating lyrical poetry across its pages. Her work was featured in regional journals, submitted by her college mentors. These were an early glimpse of her creative work that went underground during marriage, raising children, and teaching. Not until the end of a long career in public education, a divorce, and re-imagining her life did Susan return to the promise of her writing.

In 1999, Susan began to write in earnest. She submitted a memoir to the William Faulkner Creative Writing contest which was recognized in Non-Fiction as a notable book. That spurred her to keep writing. From 2004 to 2009, Susan wrote a column for Tucson Green Magazine, in which she featured essays about living in the American Southwest. Later she self-published Paean to the Earth (2008), a collection of essays, poetry, and short stories inspired by her experiences in the desert cities of Arizona.

In 2006 the Frank Waters Foundation awarded Feathers an 8-week Writer’s Residency to draft a novel about climate change in the Southwest. The novel was completed, edited, and submitted to agents and contests, but never published. Meanwhile, Susan continued to develop essays about humans and nature. In 2011, her essay, “A Way Forward in an Uncertain Future”, was published in an anthology, edited by Martin Keogh: Hope Beneath Our Feet – Restoring Our Place in the Natural World (North Atlantic Press).

In 2014, Susan rewrote the novel she began in 2006, working with writing peers in the West Florida Literary Federation. Threshold – A Sky Island Story was selected by Fireship Press (Tucson, Arizona) for publication in 2016. The novel portrays the multi-cultural history of Tucson, Arizona, and how that legacy plays out when drought and heat begin to destabilize the city and region.

Feathers began a writing project in 2012, Seven Stories, which is a review of 7 novels that portray historical times when U.S. land and human rights policies were in the making. This work emanated from Susan’s training at the Aldo Leopold Land Ethic Leaders program. She leads book clubs in a study of Leopold’s essay, “The Land Ethic”, through reading the featured novels. In 2015 this effort was published in The Leopold Foundation Outlook Magazine, Summer edition. Susan is currently writing an e-book guide for book clubs to study the ethical and ecological principles presented by Aldo Leopold in “The Land Ethic”.

Susan’s works have also been published in Songs of Ourselves: America’s Interior Landscape (Blue Heron Book Works, 2015), Panoplyzine, SEJ Journal (Journal of the Society of Environmental Journalists), Pensacola Magazine, and in academic publications. Susan’s blog, WalkEarth.org, is a place where she writes new material and posts information for writers and readers. She is currently working on a new novel and collection of essays inspired by living on the Gulf Coast, in Pensacola, Florida where she lives in a tiny house by the sea.