Photo by Steve Ladner,


  • Debut novel Lilli de Jong, the diary of an unwed Quaker mother in 1883 Philadelphia who decides to try to keep her baby, published by Nan A. Talese/Doubleday in May 2017.  
  • A story published in 2013 in the online magazine Switchback, "Instructions for Failure," was nominated for a Pushcart Prize, as was "For Objects Do Sustain" in 2014 by the Green Hills Literary Lantern. "The Reason I'm Here" appeared in the winter 2013 issue of The Tulane Review.



    After earning a B.A. in religious studies from Oberlin College, Benton began her career in publishing as a full-time intern at Ms. Magazine and The New York Beat. She went on to become news editor at the Brooklyn Heights Press, then assistant editor at Working Woman Magazine. She earned an MFA in English/fiction writing from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, while teaching writing courses and working as associate director of the Cummington Community of the Arts. After graduation, Benton wrote and edited alumni publications as associate director of p.r. at Hampshire College, then became associate editor at the University of Massachusetts Press, where she acquired and edited nonfiction and fiction. In 1996 she began an editorial business that served major nonprofit clients, including museums and universities, as well as individual authors.

    Since 2010 her primary focus has been working with fiction and nonfiction writers as a teacher and mentor. 

    Her historical novel, Lilli de Jong, was called a "monumental accomplishment" by Kirkus Reviews and was named a Best Book of 2017 by NPR and Library Journal. Learn more at

    Benton's other writings have appeared in the New York Times, the Philadelphia Inquirer, Writer's Digest, and many other publications. She has edited and co-written historical documentaries for television and helped create a series on Philadelphia women's history. Benton has been awarded fellowships, fiction awards, and a two-month residency at Cottages at Hedgebrook. 

    Benton has taught creative writing, editing, grammar, and/or composition at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst; the University of California, Davis; the University of the Arts; and Temple University's continuing studies program. She has taught private fiction workshops since 1999 and teaches regularly at conferences. 

    Former and current students have attended graduate writing programs, won fellowships, worked with agents, and published award-winning and bestselling books. (See SELECTED CLIENT WORK for a small sampling.) 

    She has also edited and helped write works for many influential projects in Philadelphia's civic life. Clients have included Open Society Foundations, History Making Productions, the National Museum of American Jewish History, the National Constitution Center, Eisenhower Fellowships, Eden Foods, Mambo Sprouts Marketing, The Reinvestment Fund, the Next Great City Coalition, Focus on the Health of Women, and Penn Praxis at the University of Pennsylvania. 

    To find out about upcoming appearances, see the Events tab at her author website, here.