I'm blogging because I enjoy reaching out, stirring a conversation, sharing opinions, reflecting on life, hearing back from you, and connecting. If I can ease your day in any way or entertain you, it's all the better!

Thanks to Nancy Jesse, a poet and short stories writer, I discovered the world of creative non-fiction. I learned to write from award-winning memoirists Beth Finke, David W. Berner, and Anette Gendler. I workshopped memoir pieces with Marion Roach Smith, Lily Danciger, and Mary Kay Shanley. Producer Rhonda J. Miller taught me the art of the interview. I have Iowa Summer Writing Festival, Off-Campus Writing Workshops, Story Studio Chicago, Creative Nonfiction Foundation, Chicago Writers Association, American Writers Museum, and Pink Pangea to thank for continuously honing my writing skills.

My pieces "What if?", "A Goat's Death", "A 40 year old virgin", "How?" and "Identity" won the Chicago Literary Club Collyer Fellowship 2021-2023.

In 2023 I self-published "Rain - poetry for children by a child" - a collection of twelve poems I wrote when I was 10 year old child growin up in the Bulgarian countryside in the ‘80s. It' is a bilingual book aiming inspire creativity in children young and old.

When time allows it I teach memoir writing in my community.

Cheers, iliana


  1. Hi Ilana: I think I am on your blog. Will now read it.
    Sharon Kramer

  2. Hi, Shamisen,
    Super interesting blog😁 Can you email me privately.