Susan diRende

Susan diRende communicates big ideas with a unique concoction of irreverence and insight. Her published works, from serious academic to sci-fi space farce, share a common thread of humor. Born in New Jersey of Italian parents, she has always looked to create at the intersection of worlds. An accomplished painter as well as writer, a strong visual imagination keeps her grounded in the "thingness" of the plastic arts alongside the ephemeral "nowness" of the lively arts. Some of the first work she created professionally was as a clown in the circus, and she remains an artist who likes to turn things upside down. Her lifelong love of learning, both as a student and teacher, has led her to be honored as an educator alongside her awards as a creator. Most recently she won the 2017 Philip K. Dick Awards Special Citation for Excellence in science fiction writing for her sci-fi fantasy farce, Unpronounceable.

If you’ve ever known a man who smokes a cigar, think about the time he lavishes on his humidor, and you understand the concept I call ‘box envy.’
— Susan diRende

Susan diRende

Is there some way I could contribute to your community with a reading, workshop, or panel? My bags are always packed!

Live an Original Life

Everyone feels the creative call. Many ignore it out of self-doubt, fatigue, or fear. Some are overwhelmed by creative ideas and demands. But the reward for listening and letting it speak through you can fill your day with clarity and joy.



Susan diRende presents an alternative off-world reality that will transport you out of whatever everyday funk you happen to be in.
— Gerald Everett Jones of Get Published! Radio

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I would love to come read for you from one of my books or to give a class to support your students and community. The areas that I've had the most interest as a speaker are the following:

  • Women's humor from the perspective of my 10 years founding and running the Broad Humor Film Festival, named by MovieMaker Magazine one of the top 5 women's film festivals in the world
  • Script writing and directing workshops based on founding both Broad Humor and the Harbinger Women's Theater company in Seattle, along with numerous awards as a writer and director
  • Creative and business writing classes at all levels, from students to professionals with a focus on simple strategies for finding clarity of message and a genuine voice
  • Strategies needed for college success aimed at ESL and international students coming to the US, called by the vice president of academic innovation at GW as the best induction to American college he had ever heard.
  • Book readings and signings of my published work

Past bookings include:

  • Olympic College
  • City of Bremerton
  • 19 Tory Street, Wellington, NZ
  • Borrego Springs Film Festival
  • Greater Los Angeles Association of Legal Administrators
  • Broad Humor Film Festival
  • WisCon
  • George Washington University
  • Kyobo Bookstores, Seoul, Korea
  • Donna Discover, Lucca, Italy

For bookings, please Get In Touch ...



Susan In-Depth

My past is checkered. Just out of college, I joined a circus as a clown and traveled around the US and Canada for the summer. Since then, I’ve focused on creating work that enlightens with a laugh. I do it onstage, in films, in print, and on canvas. For me, any medium can be the means to the same end. The last two years have been focused primarily on art and words. Both will be featured in the summer edition of the literary magazine, Cascadia Subduction Zone. This  year also saw the publication of Unpronounceable, a scifi/ fantasy farce published by Aqueduct Press in Seattle. I’ve had two books written about education for international students published in Asia, and am working on a third commissioned by Moonye Publishing in Seoul. I’ve written screenplays that have been filmed and been seen in film festivals here and in Italy, including winning Best Screenplay in the Dixie Film Festival for an action comedy, Martial Artiste, written with Janice Kennedy, and being a runner-up in the International Horror and Sci Fi Screenplay Competition.  I received a Seattle Arts Commission award, an Artist Trust grant, and a GAP grant for my writing. I was the founder of the Broad Humor Film Festival for comedies written and directed by women, now in its 11th year.


See What's on My Bookshelf

In fiction, I lean toward genre. In nonfiction, I lean toward the sciences. As a child, I was an obsessive reader, escaping from unhappiness and awkwardness into story. I'd open a book and disappear. I've always tended to go on a tear with a single author or style. At 14 I found science fiction, and blasted through the canon author by author until I came upon the fantasy writing of women like Anne McCaffrey and Ursula LeGuin.  I started leaning heavily to female fiction writers. Occasionally I travel "abroad" and enjoy male-authored fantasy and scifi. Some works are luminous, but most land flat for me. I have no gender preference for nonfiction, but if you're going to tell me a story, the worldview has to resonate for me.

Current Reads

Current Reads

Past Reads

Susan's bookshelf: read

A Thousand Nights
really liked it
Rich, textured. A female lead who both accepts the social role of women and acts as a powerful force to be reckoned with. The book struggles beautifully to balance the tension between submission and self, the resistance to powerlessness ...
tagged: fantasy
My guilty pleasure is opening a book and devouring it whole, in a single sitting, the world around me, time, even my self vanishing for a few hours.
— Susan diRende


I am lucky and I bank on it. Every year, I step deeper into the river of randomness, and it has brought me delight and success that I hadn't expected. So much so that when I feel anxiety gnawing at me about making some success or other happen, I drop the plan and walk away. Turn my attention to what's calling me. Sometimes the old plan shows up again happily, and with a new vigor. Sometimes it fades and is replaced. But fruition has its own genius, and so long as I keep open, the healthy vision will grow and bloom.

My Best Resources

Tales of Inspiration

With writing and with visual art, I apply myself with an idea in mind until something happens, a tug like a dog on a leash pulling me insistently elsewhere. If I follow it, the work comes alive whereas if I push on as I planned, the work remains inert and ultimately empty.
— Susan diRende