Profile: Second Runner-Up Lisa Reisman

By Lisa Marie Werhan

Credit: Joanne Wilcox

Credit: Joanne Wilcox

Higher education? Check. Professional law career? Been there, done that. Successful career change? Piece of cake. Marathon? No problem. Published memoirist? Yes, Lisa Reisman has achieved that, too. Her personal and professional resumes speak volumes about her drive to live a life of purpose and passion.

Adversity? Trumped. Reisman’s adversity arrived as an unexpected health challenge of overwhelming proportions. Everyone encounters adversity at some point, Reisman believes. Her advice? Keep going and make something of it. And she is doing just that. Her incredible journey is chronicled in her debut book, 5 Months 10 Years 2 Hours, published in 2015 by the indie press Outpost 19. This memoir is also the second runner-up in SFWP’s 2015 Literary Awards Program.

Beginning with notes on legal pads, Reisman wrote as a therapeutic outlet to make sense of her intense medical ordeal; when she was leaving an unfulfilling career in law, she never considered a vocation as a writer. But she did weave writing into her daily regimen to regain control of her health. A Connecticut native, she took her bits and scraps of writing to the Wesleyan Writers Conference in Middletown, Connecticut, in June 1999. There, Reisman connected with her memoir instructor, a professor at Columbia University, who encouraged her to continue writing her amazing story.

Reisman went on to earn her MFA at Columbia and has since cultivated a satisfying writing career. She finds her current work as a freelancer—reporting on well-known and lesser-known townspeople, local merchants, and events—immensely gratifying. Through the power of published words, she revels in making a positive impact in her community.

Ten years in the writing, 5 Months 10 Years 2 Hours is a testimony to Reisman’s indomitable spirit. She enjoys speaking and sharing her story and is quick to encourage others to persevere in their journeys. You can find Lisa Reisman online or at home in Connecticut, writing and savoring her view of Long Island Sound.


Short on time and long on ideas, Lisa Marie Werhan lives and writes in western Massachusetts.