Janet Preus is an award-winning journalist, songwriter, creative nonfiction writer and playwright. She's directed dozens of plays, musicals and light opera, and (pre-pandemic) reviewed Twin Cities theater for www.howwastheshow.com.
She founded, produced, directed and sang with a vocal jazz ensemble that helped support A Center for the Arts, Fergus Falls, Minnesota. During that time, she also ran the theater program at the Fergus Falls Community College and taught English, speech and theater classes.
The other half of her work life has been in journalism as an on-air reporter for radio, news editor for a daily newspaper and currently as senior editor for Advanced Textiles Source.
She is an alumni member of the New Tuners Workshop in Chicago, where her show "Ever After" (composer/co-lyricist) was featured in the Stages Festival of New Musicals, and "Snip, Snap, Snute" received a public reading.
She's spent quite a bit of time in Nashville, honing her skills with some of the best songwriters in the world and co-wrote the musical "The Gift" (bookwriter) for Nashville-based Church Musicals Inc., which has had productions around the country.
She holds a Master of Liberal Arts degree from Minnesota State University, Moorhead, a Bachelor's in English from Luther College, Decorah, Iowa, and a speech and theater major from Hamline University in St. Paul. She is the recipient of grants from the Jerome Foundation and the McKnight Foundation.
She is on the board of the Minneapolis Writers Workshop, a member of Dramatists Guild of America Inc., the Playwright's Center, ASCAP and co-founder and board member of the New Musical Theatre Exchange, Minneapolis.
She recently completed the manuscript for her first book, a deeply researched mixed genre work about murders in frontier Otter Tail County, Minnesota. Lillie's Ghost: The Story of Skewed Justice in Frontier Otter Tail County is ready to find just the right publisher. See her other pages on this site for recently published short form pieces and her plays and musicals, now available to license.
A personal note …My lake cabin in Northern Minnesota has been my home base since the pandemic hit. I get on – or in the lake, weather permitting, enjoy sailing (I'm not very good and watching sunsets (I'm really good). I stack a lot of wood in the fall, ski every day the snow is good. Reading by the fire and hanging out with extended family is good any time. It's a great place to write, too. At my desk I'm eye to eye with the top of maple tree where the squirrels, woodpeckers and other birds share their work lives with me every day.