Successful & Blessed Life:
Sue Ellen Bridgers,
Novelist – Speaker – Teacher
By Becky Palmer
Native North Carolinian Sue Ellen Bridgers lives in the mountains
of western North Carolina in the small town of Sylva. She
and Ben Bridgers were married while she was a student at Eastern
Carolina University. Once the family moved to Sylva, their
youngest child began school, so Bridgers finished her college
career at Western Carolina University. She received a Bachelor
of Arts in English in 1976. Her husband, Ben, has maintained
a well-known law firm in Sylva since their move from the eastern
part of North Carolina.
Writings of a local legend
Sue Ellen Bridgers is a local legend and inspiration. She
published her first book in 1976. She has written seven novels
that are still used in schools and colleges. Her books are
read by a wide audience of young adults. The stories are based
on characters who face issues as young adults trying to maintain
their morals and individuality while tackling the many troubles
inherent in an extended family. Her books give reflection
to the life experiences that she recalls of being a young
Bridgers discussed the struggle of getting published, which
she claims was the hardest part of writing. She confided that
the days of handing in a written manuscript for publication
are over. The new way for writers is via the Internet and
other modern technology. It has taken the perserverance that
she has exemplified throughout her career to achieve her accomplishments
as well as adapt to a world of new technology.
Reading to write
Bridgers’ advice for English majors and writers is
to read. "Rreading is essential to writing. How can you
write if you never read?” she asks. She would like to
see more English majors become teachers. “Our schools
need them,” she adds.
Now Bridgers is a writer, speaker (when asked), and a teacher.
She is currently teaching creative writing at the Brasstown
Folk School in Brasstown, North Carolina. She has begun to
write more short stories, which is more compatable with her
life. “A novel takes a long time,” she explained.
Writing has been a very important part in every aspect of
her life and continues to fill much of her time.
However, she is looking forward to retirement, “whenever
that may be,” she sighs. “It seems there is always
something to write.” She has enjoyed her writing career
and all of the extras it has provided her family. Bridgers
continues to enjoy her career, her life, keeping up with the
kids and grandkids, travelling, and staying healthy.
Becoming an achiever
Her education at Western “has been valuable to me
in that I appreciate the advanced level English classes, my
continuing friendship with students and faculty, and the ongoing
academic achievements of the English department.” Her
time at Western helped her to develop the necessary tools
to reach higher goals in her life. It made her an achiever.