Juan Gaddis

A little bit about my background: My road to writing wasn’t as direct and clear as others. I originally began – as my mother used to call me -- as a habitual liar. After the death of my beloved grandfather when I was only seven years old the world quickly became an unsafe and threatening place for me. This was partly due to no longer feeling protected because of my grandfather’s absence but in large part due to a very real and tangible episode of abuse that I suffered shortly after his death.

When I was eight years old my fourth grade teacher, Mrs. Beatrice Wright, asked me to participate in a poetry contest sponsored by the American Red Cross. The contest invited students of all age groups living the Washington Metropolitan Area to write a poem about the flag and my poem “The Flag I Love” placed third out of all the entries. The seed was planted.

I found that writing allowed me to create a world very different from my own where I could feel safe and protected but also it allowed me to make sense out of chaos. Poetry gave way to what I called performance prose, which led to short stories, which morphed into longer works. Now, every time I attempt writing a short story I inevitably hear, “there’s a novel in this.”

I hold a Masters degree in Writing from The Johns Hopkins University and attended the Sewanee Writers Conference in 1997 and 1998 where I worked with Francine Prose. Additionally I worked with Jeffrey Renard Allen at the Hurston-Wright Writers Week and most recently with Sands Hall at The Iowa Writers Festival. I am a certified leader in the Amherst Writers and Artists method and conduct writing workshops for “special” populations. A literary highlight was being a “dinner guest” on the Oprah Winfrey Show to discuss Ernest J. Gaines’s A Lesson Before Dying. I’ve had stories published in Penn/Union and Metro Weekly and a chapter from my novel The Shelf Life of Secrets is anthologized in Stress City: A Big Book of Fiction by 50 DC Guys.

Being a master procrastinator and one who loves to juggle many activities my current projects include The Shelf Life of Secrets, Dorothy Parker’s Hat, Shake When Done, and Miss Eva Regrets. And if this isn’t enough to keep me busy I recently began pursuing a Masters of Fine Arts Degree in Creative Writing at Fairleigh Dickinson University.

Again, welcome to my site and feel free to drop me a line.

I couldn’t be a
procrastinator if I didn’t
always have a few
projects in the hopper.
Check out the latest.

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