I’m J.R. on the page or Jess in real life, and I am a writer and writing/creativity coach.
My work has appeared in New York Times Book Review, Harper's Bazaar, Harper’s, and elsewhere. My fiction has been published in [PANK], and Mixed Company, an anthology by Women of Color in New Orleans.
I am currently a contributing writer for Electric Literature, where I interview the most dazzling of contemporary literary talents. I adore conversations about books in translations, hidden narratives seen from unusual eyes, and books that resonate globally and intimately.
I was director of literary programs for the Tennessee Williams/New Orleans Literary Festival for seven years until 2016. My curatorial efforts, lauded by The Guardian and Huffington Post, focused on creating literary conversations that could only be had in the sultry, shifting ground of New Orleans. I was committed to bringing more audiences and writers of color to the 30-plus-year-old festival.
I am a graduate of the University of London's School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) and Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism.
Born in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, I have lived in London, New York, and New Orleans. Movement, place, otherness, and unending diaspora are themes that obsess me and my work.
If you are an editor looking for a writer to cover international book and culture stories, contact me. I can't wait to talk ideas! Here are samples of my work. If you are a publicist with a great writer, ARC/galley, or story idea to pitch, I'd love to hear from you.
If you are a writer, who needs help getting started with your book or finishing your book (fiction, non-fiction, and memoir), email me for a complimentary chat and to see how we get you to the page and published.
I am a creativity and writing midwife to my clients. As a graduate of the impossible-to-get-into Book Seminar taught by Sam Friedman at Columbia Journalism School, I am especially strong at helping with non-fiction book proposals.
My clients have signed with their dream literary and film agents, and published work in the Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, New York Times, Astra, and other major outlets. Some of their testimonials and reviews can be found here.