Jonathan Escoffery

Fiction Writer

Long Beach, CA
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Author's Bio

Jonathan Escoffery’s family emigrated to the U.S. from Jamaica to escape the political violence that transformed the island in the 1970s. He was raised in Miami, where he attended FIU and earned his B.A. in English Literature. While attending high school and college, Jonathan worked as a janitor, a dishwasher, a server, a loader in two separate warehouses, a licensed forklift operator, an unlicensed physical therapist, a (failed) life insurance salesman, a leasing agent for a low-income elderly housing community, and a night auditor on a private island for the rich and sometimes famous, sometimes infamous.

Jonathan is the author of If I Survive You, a collection of humorous and harrowing linked stories following a Jamaican-American family as they seek stability upon moving to Miami, navigating cultural dislocation, tenuous family ties, and the many, conflicting meanings of Black American identity, forthcoming fall 2022 from MCD/ FSG, as well as the forthcoming novel, Play Stone Kill Bird.

Jonathan is the winner of The Paris Review’s 2020 Plimpton Prize for Fiction and is the recipient of a 2020 National Endowment for the Arts (Prose) Literature Fellowship. His story “Under the Ackee Tree” was among the trio that won the Paris Review the 2020 ASME Award for Fiction from the American Society of Magazine Editors, and was subsequently included in The Best American Magazine Writing 2020.

His most recent stories have appeared in The Paris Review, Electric Literature’s Recommended ReadingZYZZYVA and American Short Fiction.

Jonathan is a graduate of the University of Minnesota’s Creative Writing MFA Program (Fiction). He has taught creative writing and seminars on the writer’s life at the University of Minnesota, Writers in Progress, and at GrubStreet in Boston, where, as former staff, he founded the Boston Writers of Color Group, which currently has more than 2,000 members. He is a 2021-2023 Wallace Stegner Fellowship at Stanford University and attends the University of Southern California’s Ph.D. in Creative Writing and Literature Program as a Provost Fellow.

Publications & Prizes

Prizes won: 
  • 2021-2023 Wallace Stegner Fellowship, Stanford University.
  • 2020 Plimpton Prize for Fiction, The Paris Review, for “Under the Ackee Tree.”
  • 2020 National Endowment for the Arts (Prose) Literature Fellowship.
  • 2020 ASME National Magazine Award for Fiction, The Paris Review, for “Under the Ackee Tree.”
  • 2019 Aspen Words Emerging Writer Fellowship.
  • 2018 Glenna Luschei Prairie Schooner Award, for “Chasing Carlos.”
  • 2017 Kimbilio Fiction Fellowship.
  • 2017 Ivan Gold Fellowship (The Writers’ Room of Boston).
  • 2017 Somerville Arts Council Artist Fellowship.
  • 2016 Waasnode Fiction Prize Winner, Passages North, for “In Flux.”

More Information

Gives readings: 
Yes
Travels for readings: 
Yes
Identifies as: 
African American, Jamaican American
Prefers to work with: 
Any
Fluent in: 
English
Raised in: 
Miami, FL
Florida
Please note: All information in the Directory is provided by the listed writers or their representatives.
Last update: Mar 27, 2021