Meet Jessica

Jessica Wilbanks is the author of WHEN I SPOKE IN TONGUES (Beacon Press, 2018). Her essays, which draw heavily on research and reporting, have received a Pushcart Prize, the Wabash Nonfiction Prize from Sycamore Review, the VanderMey Nonfiction Prize from Ruminate magazine, and Ninth Letter’s annual creative nonfiction award. Jessica’s work has appeared in The Guardian, Salon, Houston Chronicle, Sojourners, The Rumpus, Longreads, and Lit Hub, and has received Notable Mentions from Best American Essays and Best American Nonrequired Reading. She was recently selected as one of three finalists for the PEN USA Literary Award in Journalism.

An enthusiastic and passionate teacher, Jessica frequently teaches writing workshops for Inprint, Writespace, Grackle & Grackle, Writers’ League of Texas, and Boldface, the University of Houston’s annual conference for emerging writers. She was featured in Houston Press’s “100 Creatives” series, and has appeared on popular radio shows and podcasts such as Houston Matters, Think with Krys Boyd, and Life After God. Jessica has presented at conferences hosted by the Association of Writers & Writing Programs, the American Academy of Religion, and NonfictioNOW, and is grateful to have received fellowship support from the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, Inprint, the Houston Arts Alliance, the West Africa Research Association, and The Nation magazine.

Jessica received her MFA in creative nonfiction from the University of Houston, where she served as nonfiction editor for Gulf Coast. She is currently working on a novel.

By Jessica Wilbanks

When I Spoke in Tongues