Excerpt, Flight (2018)
Maura starts at the top of the balcony, the highest point in the theater. Every night, before the stage manager calls places and the hawk handlers settle in, she touches the first seat in each row, marking her territory. She knows the number of steps from the last row to the edge of the balcony; and in the small private boxes as well, the loges, she’s memorized the number of steps from the door to the seats and from the seats to the edge of the half-wall, built to allow patrons to view all the action on stage and to keep them—agents, press, family, lovers, producers—from falling into the audience.
Jennifer is a fiction writer based in Western Massachusetts. She is at work on her debut novel about forbidden love between an American and a Chinese artist on the eve of the bloody crackdown in Tiananmen Square. The novel is set in Hangzhou, China, where Jennifer taught in 1989 and witnessed the pro-democracy efforts and protests that brought the city to a standstill.
Her work has appeared in The Masters Review, jubilat, Chronogram, MotherWriter! (print only) and other journals. Her stories have received honorable mention from Glimmer Train and have been recognized by the Tennessee Williams Festival's Fiction Contest. She has been awarded residencies by the Turkey Land Cove Foundation and Patchwork Farm Retreat and a fellowship by the Massachusetts Cultural Council.
Jennifer is the Associate Director of the MFA for Poets and Writers at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, where she directs the Juniper Summer Writing Institute and the Juniper Institute for Young Writers. Jennifer also teaches at Smith College's Young Women's Writing Workshop. Together with Voices from Inside, she created the Family Storybook Project in 2015 for incarcerated women and their children. In 2005, she founded When Children Save the Day, a non-profit organization that unites storytelling and social action.