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About Stephen Wilbers


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monthly writing tips


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Better Writing in Six Weeks
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Guides to Excellent Writing
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My column appears every other Monday in the business section of the Minneapolis Star Tribune. If you missed it on hard copy, you can read it here.

Writing topics & exericses
olumns, advice, and exercises on topics ranging from
annoying phrases to punctuation, salutations, wordiness, and writer’s block


English language skills
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Book recommendations


Books by Stephen Wilbers
















Stephen Wilbers is a writing consultant, columnist, and award-winning author. He has offered training seminars in effective writing to more than 10,000 creative, business, technical, legal, and academic writers.

His clients include Mayo Clinic, Medtronic, 3M, Xcel, the Metropolitan Airports Commission, the Metropolitan Council, U.S. Bank, AgCountry Farm Credit Services, Cargill, Mortenson, Ryan Companies, Thomson Reuters, the Wilder Foundation, the Bush Foundation, Fredrikson & Byron, Dorsey & Whitney, the Minnesota State Bar Association, the Pennsylvania Bar Institute, and the Oregon State Bar Association.

He has written nearly 1,000 columns on effective writing. His column, which appears every other Monday in the business section of the Minneapolis Star Tribune, has been syndicated in publications across the country.

As a Senior Fellow in the University of Minnesota's Technological Leadership Institute, he teaches both written and oral presentation skills in the Management of Technology program. He has also taught in the Carlson School of Management’s M.B.A. Program, the Program in American Studies, and the Program in Creative and Professional Writing. In 1995 he won an Outstanding Faculty Award in Hamline University’s Graduate Public Administration Program.

His books include Mastering the Craft of Writing: How to Write with Clarity, Emphasis, and Style, a compilation of 52 writing techniques drawn from his free monthly writing tips. His earlier book on writing techniques, Keys to Great Writing: Mastering the Elements of Composition and Revision, has been described as "a writing class in a book" that "breaks down general advice on what to do into practical steps on how to do it." He recently published a revised and expanded edition of Keys with an introduction by Faith Sullivan and new writing exercises.

His doctoral dissertation, a history of the Iowa Writers' Workshop, was published by the University of Iowa Press in 1980. In addition, he has published two collections of his columns, Writing for Business (winner of a 1994 Minnesota Book Award) and Writing by Wilbers. He recently completed A Grammatical Affair, a wildly romantic love story that offers writing instruction in the form of a nonfiction novel.

He has written three books about the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. This Northern Nonsense: Ernest Oberholtzer and Mallard Island, published by Red Dragonfly Press, is a chapbook of poems about the legacy of the preservationist who helped save the Boundary Waters from development. A Boundary Waters History: Canoeing across Time depicts efforts to preserve a remarkable wilderness on Minnesota’s northern border while telling the story of canoeing for nearly 30 years with his father. Canoeing the Boundary Waters Wilderness: A Sawbill Log continues the story of the challenges, dangers, and rewards of wilderness canoeing.

Dr. Wilbers earned his B.A. at Vanderbilt University and his M.A. and Ph.D. at the University of Iowa. He spent his junior year abroad in Aix-en-Provence and he was a Visiting Fulbright Fellow at the University of Essex in Colchester, England. Before starting his business as a writing consultant, he was hired to establish and direct the University of Iowa’s first campus-wide advising program. At the University of Minnesota he directed student academic support services in the College of Liberal Arts and was instrumental in the College’s recognition of American Sign Language as “a complete and natural language.” He later served as Associate Director and Acting Director of the Program in Creative and Professional writing.

Born in Cincinnati, Ohio, he is an avid reader, canoeist, cyclist, Nordic ski racer, opera lover, amateur pianist, harmonica player, and two-time skydiver. He and his wife Debbie have two children and two grandchildren. They live in Minneapolis, where he served on the Loft Literary Center’s board of directors from 2003 to 2009 and as board chair from 2007 to 2009. For additional information, see his résumé.


Books by Stephen Wilbers

Contact Stephen Wilbers at wilbe004@umn.edu.


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