Chatham University

MFA Alumni

Jessica Kinnison

Jessica Kinnison

Class of 2013

Jessica Kinnison holds an MFA in fiction and travel writing from Chatham where she taught creative writing in the Allegheny County Jail, as part of the Words Without Walls teaching team. Her stories have appeared or are forthcoming in Juked, Pif Magazine, Fiction Southeast and The Southern Humanities Review, among others. Her story "Bone on Bone" was nominated for a Pushcart Prize in 2012. She lives in New Orleans, Louisiana where she serves as Operations Manager at Project Lazarus, a nonprofit transitional housing facility for people living with HIV/ AIDS who have no other place to live. Kinnison runs the Wellness University program at Lazarus—a year-round curriculum of free classes that aims to equip residents with the tools they need to live an independent and sustainable lifestyle after they secure permanent housing. In addition, Kinnison teaches creative writing in the Wellness University, at Orleans Parish Prison as part of the Humanities: Orleans Parish Education Project (H:OPE), and at Loyola University New Orleans in the Walker Percy Center for Editing and Publishing. She also owns and operates the N. Villere Bakery Artspace, a 2,100 square-foot venue that hosts art exhibitions, concerts, community meetings, and classes year-round.