Jess Jelsma Masterton was born in Louisiana and grew up in Alabama and Pennsylvania. She received a BA in anthropology and psychology from Cornell University, an MFA in prose from the University of Alabama, and a PhD in creative writing and literature from the University of Cincinnati.
As a creative writer, Jess has received support from organizations such as the Sewanee Writers' Conference, Oregon State University's Spring Creek Project, and the Truman Capote Literary Trust. Her short fiction has been nominated for the Best of the Net and Pushcart Prize anthologies and awarded the Don Hendrie Jr. Memorial Fiction Prize. Her most recent work has appeared in The Arkansas International, Ligeia, The McNeese Review, The Normal School, The Southern Review, and Quarterly West.
As a teacher, Jess has worked with a wide array of students, including first-generation, nontraditional, and ESL undergraduates. She has over nine years of experience teaching creative writing, academic writing, and literature through Albion College, the University of Cincinnati, the University of Alabama, the Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth, and the Sewanee Young Writers' Conference.
As an editor, Jess has worked for both university-affiliated and independent publications. She is currently the Editor of Ruminate Magazine, a nonprofit literary journal that publishes fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and art. She also reads full-length manuscripts for Hub City Press.
At present, she is at work on a novel.