The story of how I became a writer doesn’t start with my love of reading or the fact that I’ve had a thing for glue-top legal pads since elementary school. It starts with my desire to wear a bra in middle school like all my friends. I was a late bloomer and my mother didn’t see the point in purchasing a bra when there was nothing to support. I felt pretty insecure, but then I read Are You There God, It’s Me Margaret, by Judy Blume. I experienced the comfort and validation of seeing yourself in a character and wanted to do for others what Judy Blume had done for me. I started keeping a journal and writing short stories.
I spent most of my adolescence and teenage years in my room reading or writing. As a senior in high school, one of my short stories won an honorable mention and $750 scholarship in a writing contest sponsored by Eastern Michigan University. I didn’t accept the scholarship. I attended the University of Michigan instead, graduating with a bachelor’s degree in Psychology. Work, marriage and motherhood pushed writing to the margins of my life for a while. But the desire to empower and encourage through writing never wavered. I eventually went back to graduate school and earned a M.S. in Written Communication and an M.F.A. in Creative Writing.
For over a decade, I worked as an English professor at North Central College in Naperville, Illinois, and as adjunct professor at various other universities and community colleges outside of Chicago. I also facilitated writing workshops for high school students, women in women’s shelters and seniors.
My work as a writer and editor combines my love for the written word with my life’s mission of empowering and encouraging women. In 2012, I founded Minerva Rising, an independent women’s literary press, to create a space for ordinary women to tell their extraordinary stories. I continue to serve as the publisher and executive editor.
My writing has appeared in several publications including Linden Avenue Literary Journal, Anthology Askew, Black Lives Have Always Mattered Anthology, The Feminine Collective, and the Chicago Tribune. My novel, Cora’s Kitchen, will be out in the Fall of 2022 with Inanna Publications. It was a finalist in the 2016 Louise Meriwether First Book Prize as well as the 2018 William Faulkner – William Wisdom Creative Writing Competition. When I’m not writing, I love taking pictures, painting and drawing. I have three adult children and currently live in Tampa, Florida, with my husband and pampered Shih Tzu.
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KIMBERLY GARRETT BROWN is Publisher and Executive Editor of Minerva Rising Press, a literary press dedicated to publishing women writers. Her best-selling debut novel, Cora’s Kitchen, won the 2022 Story Circle Network Sarton Women’s Book Award for Historical Fiction and the 2022 Bronze Foreword INDIES Book of the Year Award for multicultural fiction. Her work has appeared in Black Lives Have Always Mattered: A Collection of Essays, Poems and Personal Narratives, The Feminine Collective, Compass Literary Magazine, Today’s Chicago Woman, Chicago Tribune, The Rumpus, and elsewhere. She earned her MFA at Goddard College. She currently lives in Boca Raton, Florida.
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