Meet Our Scholars
University of Iowa
Naomi was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York by West Indian parents. As a high school student, she first became exposed to LGBTQ literature through her local library, feeding a lifelong love of words and working through a parallel struggle with sexuality through 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 as a Fulbright Scholar, 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. She has served on the board of FIERCE, an organization building the leadership and power of LGBTQ youth of color. Her writing has appeared in literary journals and magazines in the United States and abroad. She has been a resident at Hedgebrook, Vermont Studio Center and the Camargo Foundation. Naomi completed a Masters in Fine Arts degree in creative writing with a focus on fiction at the Iowa Writers' Workshop of the University of Iowa. She was awarded the 2013-2014 Maytag Fellowship for Excellence in Fiction from the University of Iowa and the ArtsEdge Residency at the University of Pennsylvania's Kelly Writers House to complete her first book. Her debut novel, The Star Side of Bird Hill, was published by Penguin Press in June 2015. To learn more about Naomi and her work, visit www.naomi-jackson.com.