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Meet Nancy Sommers

Nancy Sommers has taught writing and mentored new writing teachers for thirty years. She led Harvard’s Expository Writing Program for twenty years, directing the first-year writing program and establishing Harvard’s WAC program. Sommers now teaches at Harvard’s Graduate School of Education, where she leads a “Teachers as Writers” initiative. Prior to teaching at Harvard, she directed the University of Oklahoma Writing Program and taught in the Rutgers University, Monmouth College, and Boston University writing programs. Over the last decade, Sommers has helped establish writing programs in Asia and Europe and has been a consultant to over 100 writing programs throughout the United States.

A two-time Braddock Award winner, Sommers is well known for her research and publications on student writing. Her articles “Revision Strategies of Student and Experienced Writers” and “Responding to Student Writing” are two of the most widely read and anthologized articles in the field of composition. Sommers’s “Between the Drafts” and “The Novice as Expert: Writing the Freshman Year” are popular readings in first-year studies programs. She has also created three films—Shaped by Writing, Across the Drafts, and Beyond the Red Ink—to bring the voices of student writers into a larger discussion about writing instruction.

Nancy Sommers’s recent work involves a longitudinal study which followed 400 Harvard undergraduates through their college careers to understand the role writing plays in undergraduate education. Her current research focuses on the transition from urban high schools to community colleges.

Nancy Sommers is currently the lead coauthor of Diana Hacker’s best-selling handbooks: The Bedford Handbook, A Writer’s Reference, Rules for Writers, and A Pocket Style Manual. She travels across the country giving workshops for Hacker Handbook users and meeting with students and writing teachers. Sommers has coauthored two additional textbooks, both published by Bedford/St.Martin’s: the Student Writers at Work series (The Bedford Prizes) and Fields of Reading, now in its 9th edition.