Publishers Weekly, starred review
"Wrestling with God: Stories of Doubt and Faith" book cover with photo of author Barbara Falconer Newhall

"Any seeker of any faith will be blessed to read the words of this fine author and observer."

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Writing Room: A Week With Lauren Winner — Of “Girl (Woman) Meets God”

Lauren Winner photo by BF Newhall

Lauren Winner. Photo by BF Newhall

By Barbara Falconer Newhall

I posted this entry a couple years ago after a writing workshop week in Santa Fe with Lauren Winner. She’s a fascinating person. Very smart. — bfn

OK, I’m a little late in posting today. But I have an excuse. I’m sleep deprived, on account of getting up so early all last week to spend time with Lauren Winner, author of Girl Meets God.

A few months ago, when I saw that Lauren would be leading a week-long workshop in spiritual writing at the Glen Workshop in Santa Fe this summer — I wasted no time signing up.

Girl Meets God, a memoir, did well when it came out in 2002. So I thought,  it can’t hurt to spend some time with this young woman. She’s a good writer. She’s figured out how to tell an intimate story — her conversion from Judaism to Christianity — without getting all cheesy about it. And her book was a sales success. It would be fun hanging out for a week with this woman, I thought. And maybe I’d even learn something.

It had a been a few years since I’d read Girl Meets God, and I’d forgotten most of the details when I signed up. The title had stuck in my mind, however, so when I arrived at the Glen, I expected to meet a girl —  young and pretty, with a stylish head of hair that she’d toss  breezily from time to time.  A winsome , girlish, twenty- or thirty-something.


Lauren Winner is anything but girlish. First of all, she’s a woman — she’d like that to be clear. She also has a tough, incisive mind, which she faithfully applied to the sixteen manuscripts our group had brought to Santa Fe. Too, Lauren is generous, kind and has a great sense of humor. So, yes, we all had a very good time.

More about the Glen and Lauren’s other books in a later post.

Girl Meets God, by Lauren Winner, Random House paperback, $15.

Here’s another post with More Thoughts from/to/about Lauren. I’ll also be writing about Anne Lamott; watch for those posts.

In another post — John Shelby Spong talks about Christianity — Why Some of It is Bunk.




  1. Lisa Phillips says:

    The Glen Workshop brochure says that one week can change a life. Well, it is true. Lauren Winner was the teacher/facilitator of the Spiritual Writing class and I was honored to sit under her tutelage. She possesses a fine mind and a generous spirit. Lauren has motivated me to continue writing my story and to saturate my writing with prayer. God is good all the time and I received a double portion of His goodness at the Glen Workshop 2009.

    • Lisa doesn’t mention it, but Lisa is totally fun to be with. We had lotsa laughs in and out of class last week.

  2. Yes, Lauren did a great job of pass on her wisdom about memoirs, how to develop as a writer, publishing, and helping us diverse individuals from all corners of the country come together as a group.

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