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The Writers’ Colony at Dairy Hollow Awards Real People Fellowship to Jessica Reese

The Writers’ Colony at Dairy Hollow (WCDH) is pleased to announce the winner of the 2022 “Real People, Real Struggles, Real Stories: Writing About Mental Illness” fellowship, awarded to a writer working on a short or long work of non-fiction focusing on how they (the writer or another) manage their mental illness and create a life of hope and purpose.

Jessica Reese was selected by a panel of judges from 40 applicants for her writing project’s insight, honesty, hope, literary merit, and the likelihood of publication. Reese will receive a two-week residency at The Writers’ Colony at Dairy Hollow. She will be working on her memoir entitled How Am I Alive? Of her memoir, Reese says, “This memoir will tell all the uncomfortable truths of a black woman living with a misunderstood mental illness. Most people will call someone bipolar because they are a bit moody, but little do they know the agony of a person who truly suffers from this cruel illness. Since there is no cure, I want to offer hope that one can survive and even thrive with this illness if they take care of themselves. My memoir is raw and harrowing. It involves tragic loss and overcoming the odds. It involves triumph, love, healing, and support. My story offers hope for sufferers and their loved ones.”

Jessica Reese is a freelance writer, editor, and educator who lives in Memphis, TN. She received her Bachelor of Science in Marketing with a Minor in Communications from Oakland University, and she then went on to earn a Master of Business Administration from The University of Memphis. Though she experienced success in business, she maintained her childhood passion for writing throughout undergrad, writing, and performing poetry on campus. In 2009, she became a freelance writer, producing biographical articles for underground music artists like Miz Korona, the rapper who was infamous for battling Eminem in the movie “8 Mile.” From there, her freelance writing career grew, and she founded Illuminate Writing Company where her projects have ranged from editing manuscripts, writing copy, writing executive speeches, leading workshops, and everything in between. Eventually, she decided to leave the world of business and share this passion for writing with the youth and became a Middle School Writing Teacher.

The Writers’ Colony at Dairy Hollow would like to express their gratitude to long-time WCDH supporter and former board member Sharon Spurlin for generously funding this fellowship.

For more information about sponsoring a fellowship supporting the genre and/or area of interest you are passionate about, visit

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