The Virginia G. Piper
Center for Creative Writing

Home / Writers / Amy Silverman
Photograph of Amy Silverman

Amy Silverman

Piper Writers Studio Instructor 2019

About Amy Silverman

Amy Silverman is an award-winning writer, editor and teacher. Her work’s appeared on This American Life and in The New York Times, Washington Post, Lenny Letter, Motherwell, and Brain, Child. Amy worked for 25 years as a staff writer and editor at Phoenix New Times. Silverman's first book, My Heart Can’t Even Believe It: A Story of Science, Love and Down Syndrome, was published by Woodbine House in 2016. She's the co-curator of the live reading series Bar Flies at Valley Bar in downtown Phoenix, and a commentator for KJZZ. Amy co-teaches the long-running Mothers Who Write workshop at Changing Hands Bookstore. She’s also taught at ASU’s Cronkite School. Silverman lives in Tempe with her husband and daughters.

Find Classes with Amy Silverman

Date: Saturday, April 6, 2019, 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
Type: Generative Workshop, Workshop
Genre: Creative Nonfiction, Journalism, Memoir

In this True Story workshop, participants will learn and apply basic journalism skills to their creative non-fiction, particularly memoir. Students will begin by brainstorming ideas for their own true stories. The class will be interactive, as students share ideas and get feedback from the instructor and classmates. Through exercises and workshopping, participants will hone interviewing skills, moving on to writing dialogue.


More About Amy Silverman

Lengel, Kerry “Author Q&A: Amy Silverman on raising daughter with Down syndromeazcentral, April 22, 2016.

It was the curse that became, well, not a blessing, exactly. Something complicated — by turns joyous, terrifying, frustrating, humbling, enlightening.

You know, life.

Amy Silverman, a veteran journalist and currently managing editor of Phoenix New Times, gave birth to her second daughter by C-section in 2003. Moments after awaking in a haze of painkillers, she got the news. Sophie, named after the goddess of wisdom, had Down syndrome, the genetic disorder that causes mental disability along with the potential for a host of physical afflictions.

Silverman, Amy. “Measuring the baby’s earsMotherwell, August 30, 2016.

“I’m not supposed to say anything,” she said as I yanked my black maternity T-shirt down and struggled like a turtle on its back to pull my body to an upright position on the exam table in the small, dim room, then stuck my feet back in my red Dansko clogs. “But I know why you’re here. And I can tell you without a shadow of a doubt that your baby does not have Down syndrome.”

---. “Beyond the R-wordMedium, October 3, 2018.

This summer, I edited a language style guide for journalists who cover disability. It was one of the toughest assignments of my career.

I spent the summer with my nose in the dictionary — rifling through medical journals, Googling the history of words, jotting down notes.

And clapping my hand over my own mouth several times a day.

---. “The day my daughter told us her disability is love” Salon, February 11, 2018.

I’m pretty sure that if I gave her the chance, my 14-year-old daughter would make out with me. Tongue and all.

That’s how much Sophie loves me. Don’t get me wrong, she hates me too, sometimes, in that brutal way only a teenage girl can loathe the tragically uncool mom who makes all the rules and tries to sing along to Taylor Swift in the car.

---. “Amy Silverman: Sisters” KJZZ, May 18, 2018.

I took a deep breath. Annabelle is in 11th grade. She attends a prestigious performing arts school with a project-based academic curriculum. The third-quarter presentation is the culmination of a year’s worth of work, 15 soul-crunching minutes of public speaking and Socratic inquisition.

Families are invited to attend, but as you might imagine, distractions are not welcome.  Which brings us to Annabelle’s little sister, Sophie.