Jane Hertenstein


Jane Hertenstein lives in Chicago in the Uptown neighborhood and has been involved in community building for the past twenty-five years. She volunteers at an area homeless shelter where she leads a creative writing workshop. Jane has published three books: A young adult novel titled Beyond Paradise (a PBS Teacher Recommended book); Home is Where We Live, a picture book about life at a homeless shelter as seen through the eyes of a young girl; and Orphan Girl, the story of a bag lady Jane met at the shelter. Orphan Girl was highly praised in the Chicago Tribune Sunday Book Section as well as in other national review journals. Jane is currently working with her agent in selling two novel manuscripts.

Artistic Statement: 

Two of my personal literary heroes are Tillie Olsen and Dorothy Day. Despite certain obstacles (time spent raising children or advocating for the poor, police intimidation, jail time), Olsen and Day persevered to write. One of the reasons I sat down with Marie James to get her story for Orphan Girl was that I wanted to give a voice to the voiceless. Many people, especially seniors, approach me and ask me to help them write their stories. A lot of kids have ideas, but feel stymied because they lack “real life” experience. In my workshops, I deal with perspective ("Tell your story from where you’re at now"). Sometimes all a person needs is encouragement - someone to say, "You can do this."

Residency Type: 
Individual Artist