Bio

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I was born in Germany, the son of a Nigerian mother and English father, but grew up in the UK. After graduating from Edinburgh University, I roamed the world, stopping to live in Egypt, Lesotho, Colombia, England, Italy, and the United States. I made a living mainly by teaching English as a Foreign Language. In Lesotho I ran a school theatre and did some work for the anti-apartheid movement in neighbouring South Africa, which marked something of an awakening for me.

I didn’t own stuff like cars and houses until I was well into my thirties because I spent all my money on travel and books. To date, I’ve been to about sixty countries, and have about ten zillion books, half of which I still haven’t read.

I’ve always been a writer. I wrote plays for schoolchildren in the UK and Lesotho. In my twenties I began publishing stories about social justice issues in black communities in various journals and anthologies (see here for selected short fiction). The Times, London, described my work thus: “hard-hitting … in the kind of language that packs a serious punch” and “display[s] the precise observational skills, the facility with language, and the ability to make a small tale speak fresh volumes.”

My novel, Damnificados, was published by PM Press in January 2016. It has since won the Independent Publishers Book Award and the New Mexico-Arizona Book Award; been a finalist for the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award, the Foreword INDIES Book Award, and the Eric Hoffer Book Award; been nominated for an American Book Award; and been on Oprah’s Top 10 Books to Read Now List.

In the late nineties, under the name JJ Wilson, I co-authored my first textbook for adult students of English. I wrote it with my friend and colleague Antonia Clare. Several similar books followed, as well as more academic works for teachers. These were published by Longman (later Pearson). For two of my educational books I was honoured at Buckingham Palace in 2008 and 2011.

I have given presentations, plenaries, and workshops in Algeria, Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Chile, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Czech Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Italy, Lesotho, Malta, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Peru, Poland, Spain, Turkey, United Kingdom, United States, and Venezuela.

I live in Silver City, New Mexico, USA, with my wife, son, and stepdaughter.

With the Duke of Edinburgh and my Series Editor and friend, Jeremy Harmer, Buckingham Palace, 2008
With the Duke of Edinburgh and my Series Editor and friend, Jeremy Harmer, Buckingham Palace, 2008

Receiving an award for Speakout in Buckingham Palace, 2011. My co-authors were Antonia Clare, Frances Eales, and Steve Oakes.

Receiving an award in Buckingham Palace, 2011. My co-authors were Antonia Clare, Frances Eales, and Steve Oakes.

RECENT AWARDS, HONORS, RECOGNITION

2017 Damnificados was named a finalist for the Hurst/Wright Legacy Award in Debut Fiction and the Eric Hoffer Book Award

2017 Damnificados won the Independent Publisher Book Award for Multicultural Fiction

2017 Damnificados was named a finalist for the Foreword INDIES Book of the Year Award for Literary Fiction and nominated for an American Book Award.

2016 Damnificados won the New Mexico-Arizona Book Award for Fiction; was named on a Top Ten Picks list in ‘O’, The Oprah Winfrey Magazine; and was named no. 1 on Bookriot’s ‘Books to Read in January’ list.

2016 Appointed as honorary member of Delta Mu Delta

2013 Named a New Mexico Humanities Council Scholar

2012 Speakout was shortlisted for the British Council Innovation in ELT Award

2011 Speakout won the Duke of Edinburgh English Speaking Union Award for Best Book

2010 Appointed writer-in-residence at Western New Mexico University, USA

2008 How to Teach Listening won the Duke of Edinburgh English Speaking Union Award Best Book for Teachers

2008 How to Teach Listening was shortlisted for the Ben Warren Prize

AFFILIATIONS

Society of Authors

Academy of American Poets

PEN USA

Delta Mu Delta

Southwest Festival of the Written Word (Festival Coordinator)

REPRESENTATION

Liepman Literary Agency

info@liepmanagency.com

http://www.liepmanagency.com

20 Comments Add yours

  1. JJ, thanks so much for taking a deep geography look at Melange Block.

    Like

    1. JJ Wilson says:

      My pleasure, Denise. It’s a terrific collection. I hope it gets the audience it deserves.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Priscila Mateini says:

    wow, JJ thanks for sharing such a beautiful story.

    Like

    1. JJ Wilson says:

      Thank you, Priscila, for reading this and for sharing it!

      Like

  3. Denise Deon Carpeggiani says:

    Hi. I am a Yazigi School Franchisee( Pearson) and attended your lectures with my team of teachers. We are all impressed. I need to ask you something. Can you give me your e-mail address?

    Like

    1. JJ Wilson says:

      Hi Denise. Best to reach me on jjawilson@hotmail.com, but I think you already found me on my university address. 🙂

      Like

  4. You are such an inspiration to me and all the guys who played rugby with you, it was a pleasure to have met you, best regards from Mexico.

    Like

    1. JJ Wilson says:

      Jesus, thank you so much for this comment! Actually, you guys inspire me. It was great to spend time with you all, and I hope we get the chance to do it again.

      Like

  5. Hannachi Rachid says:

    I enjoyed attending your plenary sessions in Oran, Algeria, at British Council ELT conference. Respect !

    Liked by 1 person

    1. JJ Wilson says:

      Thank you, Hannachi. I loved the conference, too, especially meeting so many wonderful teachers!

      Like

  6. radia says:

    I was so happy to attend your plenary sessions in Oran, Algeria, at British Council ELT conference.!
    I will try to imitate what you had done with my students cause I want to improve their english learning.So big Thank you sir.Respect!

    Like

    1. JJ Wilson says:

      Thank you, Radia. I was happy to be there. It was a wonderful experience talking to the teachers. I hope to return soon …

      Like

  7. Mohamed says:

    Ohhhh Man you are so good! I’m mad about your pronunciation ,your words and all your sessions at the British Council ELT Conference in Oran.Happy to see you closer but disappointed not to take just a pic with you.Wishing you plenty of Success in your life.I just say all this in one sentence: You have been inspired all the Algerian English teachers.Hat off

    Like

    1. JJ Wilson says:

      Thank you, Mohamed! I appreciate it! I had a great time meeting the teachers in Oran.

      Like

      1. Hope to see you again in Algeria.

        Like

      2. JJ Wilson says:

        I hope so, too, Mohamed. Thanks for visiting my blog!

        Like

  8. I was very delighted to attend your final plenary session in the third International Conference in Oran ,Algeria.Thanks a lot.

    Like

    1. JJ Wilson says:

      Thank you, Makhlouf. It was a fantastic conference and I really enjoyed meeting the teachers. A great introduction to Algeria!

      Like

  9. Dear JJ, thanks again for your availability last Sunday!
    My TV segment on the Brooklyn Book Festival will air tomorrow (Thursday, Sept. 22nd, on BRIC TV in the context of BK Live from 12 to 1pm. You are in it!

    Here’s the link for the Live streaming:
    http://bkindiemedia.bricartsmedia.org/

    If you can’t catch it today you’ll find it soon on BRIC TV Youtube channel:

    Hope you enjoy it!
    Best,
    Filippo

    Like

    1. JJ Wilson says:

      Thanks, Filippo! I love BRIC TV!

      Like

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