Aimee Bender Biography


(Great Authors of World Literature, Critical Edition)

Aimee Bender is recognized as a unique writer of her time. Her wordplay and use of metaphors set her apart from her peers. Bender was born and raised in Santa Monica, California. Her father was a psychiatrist, and her mother was a dance teacher and choreographer. Her parents encouraged young Bender to explore her inner self at a very young age. She remembers her father helping her, as early as age nine, to realize the relationship between fear of an object (in one case, thunder) and anger. This insight allowed her to grasp the concept of metaphor, a device she excels at using in her fiction. Her mother also taught her to free her unconscious to intensify the creative process. Thus, Bender was able to combine the psychiatric and artistic techniques of both her father and her mother to enhance her own writing.

Bender was a precocious writer but abandoned this avocation while attending Palisades High School for choir and theater. She received a bachelor’s degree in theater from the University of California, San Diego, in 1991. Bender applied to several graduate programs in theater but was rejected. She then moved to San Francisco and taught reading in an elementary school which was heavily populated by children of Russian immigrants. Undaunted, Bender drew encouragement from her students, and this academic experience gave her not only the confidence to pursue writing but also material for later fictional works.

Finally, in 1995, Bender was accepted into the master’s of fine arts program at the University of California, Irvine (UCI). At UCI, she deviated from the practice of writing realistic...

(The entire section is 662 words.)


(Literary Essentials: Short Fiction Masterpieces)

Aimee Bender grew up in Santa Monica, California, in the early 1980’s. Her father was a psychiatrist and her mother, a dancer. As a child, Bender was a budding writer but let this fall by the wayside after elementary school. At Palisades High School, Bender followed her mother’s artistic bent in choir and drama but did no further writing until college. Her instructors at the University of California at San Diego, where she received a bachelor’s degree in 1991, encouraged her writing. She moved to San Francisco and taught reading in an elementary school dominated by Russian immigrants. In the fall of 1995, the University of California at Irvine (UCI) accepted Bender in their graduate writing workshop program as one of only eleven students. She received a master’s of fine arts in 1997 and was awarded a one-year fellowship to teach composition and creative writing as well as edit the campus literary journal, Faultline. During her graduate studies, Bender lived on Balboa Island but moved to West Hollywood after attaining her degree. She joined the faculty at the prestigious University of Southern California's creative writing program in 2001.

Bender’s works have appeared in numerous literary periodicals. Her first published work was “Dreaming in Polish,” which appeared in the Santa Monica Review (Spring, 1995). This was followed in short succession by “Skinless” (also entitled “Erasing”) in the Spring, 1996, issue of the Colorado Review. One year later, “Legacy” was printed in Cream City Review. “The Rememberer” was first published in the Missouri Review in the fall of 1997, at the same time that “The Ring” appeared in the same journal, “What You Left in the Ditch” in The Antioch Review, and “Fell This Girl” in Faultline. Spring, 1998, saw the publication of “Call My Name” in the North American Review as well as “Quiet Please” in the May issue of GQ; later that year, “The Healer” appeared in Story and “Loser” in Granta.


(Short Stories for Students)

Aimee Bender was born in Los Angeles, California, on June 28, 1969. The youngest of three girls, Bender idolized her older sisters and often...

(The entire section is 335 words.)