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Jessica Wilbanks is a freelance essayist and 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. Her 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 a finalist for the national PEN Literary Award in Journalism.

An active member of the literary community in Houston, 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 such as Houston Matters and Think with Krys Boyd. 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.

When I Spoke in Tongues is available now wherever books are sold. 

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