Jessie Seigel’s fiction has appeared in Ontario Review, Gargoyle, Élan, Peacock Journal, and the anthology, Electric Grace. Her poetry has appeared in Response, A Contemporary Jewish Review, and been featured bi-weekly in the Boston Jewish Times. Seigel has been the recipient of two individual artist’s fellowships from the Washington D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities, a fellowship to the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, and a residency at the Tyrone Guthrie Centre in County Monaghan, Ireland. Her unpublished novel, Tinker’s Damn, was a semi-finalist for the William Faulkner Creative Writing Award for the Novel (an excerpt was published in Ontario Review); her short story, Her Own Kind, received an honorable mention for the Washington Prize, and she was a finalist for a 2017 grant from the Speculative Literature Foundation.
Seigel has a Master of Arts in Writing from The Johns Hopkins University; has taught fiction writing in Georgetown University’s continuing education program; and was, for a year, on the Board of American Independent Writers. Currently, Seigel is an associate editor at the Potomac Review and writes reviews for the Washington Independent Review of Books. Jessie lives in Washington, D.C.
I was born in a log cabin–no, wait–that was Lincoln. Or so they say. I was born in a hospital in Detroit, Michigan, and raised there-abouts, but with a strong New York state of mind inherited from a mother and father who had emigrated from that Land of Boroughs. I grew up playing: dancing; acting; writing; learning a language or two; eventually drawing and illustrating; and, through it all, reading and imagining the wide world. I got a B.A., Phi Beta Kappa, from Wayne State University, with a major in philosophy (emphasis in logic and linguistics). I then got a J.D. from the University of Michigan Law School. (Yes. I became a lawyer. As my excuse, I note that the decision was made after reading Clarence Darrow for the Defense, by I.F. Stone, at age twelve.) I came to Washington, D.C., and worked for many years as an attorney for the federal government. (One must eat, no?) Along the way, I also did some more dancing (with the Black Thorn Stick Ceili Dancers), some more painting, a little traveling, a little writing; got that M.A.; and did a bit of teaching.
I am forever fascinated by the worlds and peoples outside myself–real and imagined. I do not believe in the adage, “write what you know.” I am not drawn to that which is familiar, but to that which is different. I believe the most fun, and the most interesting writing, comes from making what I call “the empathetic leap,” living in someone else’s skin for a while. Do what you must to know what you write. But make the leap. That is the great adventure.