I’m honored to be included in the 10th anniversary of the JaxbyJax Literary Arts Festival, December 1 – 3, at the FSCJ Kent Campus. This year’s lineup has so much to offer in memoir and creative nonfiction as well as talented local authors in other genres like poetry, fiction, and spoken word.

No matter your genre, if you’re a local writer, take advantage of the free workshops on Sunday, December 3, noon to 3pm. I’ll be teaching memoir and creative nonfiction with Tricia Booker, author of The Place of Peace and Crickets and a fabulous roundup of news and musings on Substack. For a taste of her style, read The Swing. Go slowly to be sure not to miss the layers in her work.

My reading is scheduled for Saturday, December 2 at 2:15pm in the Art Gallery (E-112-F). For a taste of my style, check out my recent stories in HuffPost and Salon, and my twice weekly memoir reviews on my Substack, Memoirs with Melissa.

More Memoir and Creative Nonfiction Readings

I happen to have read both memoirs by the featured readers this year. Here’s what to expect.

On Friday, December 1, Nathaniel Glover will read from Striving for Justice: A Black Sheriff in the Deep South. Glover was the sheriff of JSO in the late 90s and early 2000s and has since served as president of Edward Waters College, a private HBCU in Jacksonville. His memoir shows Ax Handle Saturday through his eyes as a young person simply trying to go home after a day spent washing dishes for work. The racial tensions he navigates through his experience as a young worker and as a rising leader in law enforcement are eye-opening and educational. The values he embodies have a lot to say about how to move our society forward through the continued racial tensions of today.

On Saturday, December 2, Mayor Donna Deegan will read from her memoir Through Rose Colored Glasses: A Marathon from Fear to Love. I especially enjoyed this book earlier in the year when I was training for the Donna Half Marathon and look forward to more inspiration at the festival as I gear up for the full marathon in February. In addition to her mental and physical resilience, I admire her flexibility and openness in embracing new ideas. At a time when so much of the world is entrenched in divisiveness and binaries, we could all take a lesson from a woman who has covered more distance than she ever expected.

For a complete list of selected writers with bios and reading times, visit jaxbyjax.com.