Jessica Reidy (they/she) is a New Hampshire based writer, editor, and educator. They are co-host of Romanistan Podcast with Paulina Verminski, a podcast about Romani culture. They are the winner of the Penelope Nivens award for Creative nonfiction, and their work has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net. Their poetry, fiction, and nonfiction have appeared in Narrative Magazine as Short Story of the Week, Prairie Schooner as a Glenna Luschei prize winner, The Kenyon Review online, Luna Luna Magazine, and other journals. They are mixed Romani (aka “Gypsy”) and read tarot, tea leaves, and palms in their family tradition under the name Jezmina Von Thiele.
A word about the word “Gypsy”
The word “Gypsy” is a racial slur that refers to the Romani, a diasporic ethnic group originally from India circa the 10th century. The word conjures stereotypes, of criminality, hypersexualization, etc., for example, “gypped” to mean “cheated.” Some Romani folks, like my maternal grandmother, use the word to refer to themselves, and some feel strongly about not using it. In general, best practice is for non-Romani people not to use/ or appropriate the word, and Romani people can use it or not. In that same vein, it’s not ok for non-Romani companies or brands to use this word. It is like any other racial slur, and it should not be used or appropriated, even if you think it’s pretty.
Teaching, Editing, & Writing
I am available to lecture, teach workshops and retreats, give talks, and other seminars online or in-person. I am open to solicited essays, poems, stories, and articles. I also offer editing services for creative projects.
Photography: Top photo by Aurora Rose, Auroraandjohn.com
17 thoughts on “About”
Cool picture! What genre is your novel in?
Thanks so much! I owe all the coolness to the photographer 🙂 I’ve been wondering about the genre too. I think I’ll say the novel is cultural/historical fiction– it’s set in 1952 and follows Coco, a young Romani (Gypsy) woman who works at a circus outside of Paris as a fortune teller and dancer. She survived the Romani genocide of WWII by hiding in the Black Forest with her mother, Mina, an exiled Romani writer who now lives in a Parisian asylum. As Coco pieces together her own story and her mother’s story, she uncovers secrets, dangerous threats, and ecstatic visions, and launches on a journey in pursuit of justice.
I hope you don’t mind a synopsis– and thank you for checking out my page. Happy holidays!
Greetings & Salutations Jessica,
Saw you enjoyed a few of pics from my Sara e Kali album on Pinterest, so I thought that would check in. GREAT website! I was concerned about you declaring yourself a “Gypsy Witch”; the term is often used without thought. However, it looks like those concerns were unfounded! 🙂 I do enjoy that you are taking your Rromani blood seriously. It is rare to find on the internet. Great choice of links.
Keep up the good work, and until our paths next cross – be well!
Hah, yes, I try to use/reclaim typically appropriative terms to sneak-attack educate people. Thanks for the love. All the best to you!
The vibe I get from your blog is the ‘Nigella of Romani culture’. Do you and your sort drink wine at the end of the day with your pinky out while eating some nibbles.
You have no idea how much I want that to be true. Thank you!
Hey there, is there a way I can email you somehow? Thanks! Mary
Oh, I forgot to click the “notify me of new comments” thing. Got it!
Sure! jessica(dot)s(dot)reidy(at)gmail(dot)com Sorry I didn’t see your question sooner.
Love your blog!
Thanks!! That’s so nice to hear. & thanks for reading!
And love your work too!
You made my day 🙂 Thanks for that.
Hey, have you ever come up to Montreal? We’re organizing a benefit to raise funds to help local Hungarian Roma families fight their impending deportation, end of August.
Jessica! I am so excited to find your work!!! I just read about your workshop in Granada last night and I’m kicking myself that I didn’t find out about it sooner. If you do it again next summer I want to go! Thank you so much!
Nicole Henares “Aurelia Lorca”
Im a historian and gypsy dance teacher in Brazil, and im amazed with your texts. As a non-Roma, I was looking for some text about romani tea and found your text about roma people and your traditions, food and discrimination. . Here, in Brazil, many people are as you said, “daydreamed of life as a gypsy”, and I always try to demystify it. I always try to find good references to write and post on my blog to my students and many curious people. So, your text, specially, I would like to translate, because it is a “romani voice” telling about it.
I´ve studied too about rom and calom dances, but it is very difficult (for me) to find sinti dance. So if you have a video where you dance, please, can you share?
If you want to know my job, it is my blog