Jacinda Townsend is the author of Saint Monkey (Norton, 2014), which is set in 1950’s Eastern Kentucky and won the Janet Heidinger Kafka Prize and the James Fenimore Cooper Prize for historical fiction. Saint Monkey was also the 2015 Honor Book of the Black Caucus of the American Library Association, and was longlisted for the Flaherty-Dunnan First Novel Prize and shortlisted for the Crook’s Corner Book Prize. The novel received critical acclaim from numerous media outlets, including The New York Times, which reviewed it in the Sunday Book Review and listed in Paperback Row. Saint Monkey was also listed in the Louisville Courier Journal’s Year-End Favorites and named to The Root’s Top Novel’s of 2014: it was chosen as May, 2015’s Book of the Month by the Go on Girl! national book club.
Jacinda grew up in Southcentral Kentucky. She left at the age of sixteen, when she went to Harvard, where she took her first creative writing class. While at Duke Law School she cross-registered in the English department, where she took her next few formative writing workshops, and in 1999, after four years of being first a broadcast journalist and then a lawyer in New York City, went to the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, where she received her M.F.A. and went on to spend a year as a Fulbright fellow in Côte d’Ivoire. She recently finished a novel called Kif. Portions of this novel have been published in Germ Magazine, Thin Air, and Generations Literary Journal. An excerpt is forthcoming in the sequel to the anthology Degrees of Elevation, and an excerpt published in Pluck! The Journal of Affrilachian Arts & Culture has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize.
Jacinda teaches in the Creative Writing program at University of California, Davis, and is mom to two beautiful children who amaze her daily.