Scholar Class – 2011
Naomi Jackson was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York by West Indian parents. As a high school student, she first became exposed to LGBT literature through her local library, feeding a lifelong love of words and a working through parallel struggle with sexuality with books by authors like Audre Lorde, James Baldwin and Cheryl Clarke.
As a student at Williams College, she came out and began organizing conversations among students about sexuality and homophobia in the Caribbean. After graduating, she traveled to South Africa on a Fulbright scholarship, where she received an M.A. in Creative Writing from the University of Cape Town. After returning to New York, she co-founded Tongues Afire, a free creative writing workshop for queer women and transgender people of color at the Audre Lorde Project in Brooklyn. For the past two years, she has served on the board of FIERCE, an organization building the leadership and power of LGBTQ youth of color. Her poems, essays, and short stories have appeared in Encyclopedia Project, Obsidian, The Caribbean Writer, Sable, and Does Your Mama Know: An Anthology of Black Lesbian Writing. She has been a resident at Hedgebrook and received the Archie D. and Bertha H. Walker scholarship at the Fine Arts Work Center.
Over the course of two years, she will complete a Master in Fine Arts degree in creative writing with a focus on fiction at the Iowa Writers Workshop of the University of Iowa. While there, she will work on a draft of her first novel, starting on her way to becoming a published author.