Jessica Wilbanks grew up on the western shore of the Chesapeake Bay and attended Hampshire College, where she studied theology and creative nonfiction. She received her MFA in creative nonfiction from the University of Houston, where she served as nonfiction editor for Gulf Coast. Her essays and articles have appeared in Ninth Letter, Sojourners, Ruminate, The Tusculum Review, Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, Newsweek/Washington Post’s On Faith blog, and The Puritan.
Jessica has received a Pushcart Prize, a 2014 Emerging Artist Grant from the City of Houston through the Houston Arts Alliance, the 2013 creative nonfiction award from Ninth Letter, the VanderMey Nonfiction Prize from Ruminate magazine, and a Notable Mention from Best American Essays. She has also received fellowship support from the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, the Taos Summer Writers Conference, Inprint Houston, the University of Houston, the West Africa Research Association, and The Nation magazine. She recently traveled to Nigeria to conduct research for her first book, a memoir about Pentecostal Christianity.