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 or are forthcoming in Sycamore Review, Ninth Letter, Sojourners, Ruminate, The Tusculum Review, Owl Eye Review, 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 2014 Wabash Nonfiction Prize from Sycamore Review, the 2013 creative nonfiction award from Ninth Letter, the VanderMey Nonfiction Prize from Ruminate magazine, and Notable Mentions from Best American Essays and Best American Nonrequired Reading. 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.
As an active member of the Houston literary community, Jessica has taught writing workshops at Ecclesia, Inprint, and Boldface, the University of Houston’s annual undergraduate writing conference, and was featured in the Houston Press “100 Creatives” blog series. She recently traveled to Nigeria to conduct research for her first book, a memoir about Pentecostal Christianity.