Marja Mills is a journalist and bestselling author. She teaches and consults on writing projects.
Her memoir, The Mockingbird Next Door, was a New York Times bestseller. It tells the story of her friendship with Harper Lee and her sister Alice in their Alabama hometown. Mills was a news reporter and feature writer at the Chicago Tribune, where she was a member of the staff that won a Pulitzer Prize for a series about O’Hare Airport entitled Gateway to Gridlock. Born and raised in Madison, she graduated from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service and speaks Spanish. Before the pandemic, she lived in downtown Chicago. She now resides in Black River Falls, Wisconsin.
What began as one memoir course Mills taught at the Academy in 2021 has become a popular series of workshops with an enthusiastic following. Now Mills teaches memoir writing workshops Levels One, Two and Three, as well as short courses such as "The Lost Art of Writing Notes & Letters” and “Writing about Food.” Many of her students continue taking her classes and stay in touch as the writing community around these courses grows.