bio

Jill Widner was born in Houston, Texas, and raised in Indonesia, where her father was a petroleum engineer in the 1960s.

Her novel in progress THE SMELL OF SULPHUR observes a subculture of expatriate children growing up in an oil camp in South Sumatra during the years before and following the Sukarno coup when the oil industry was managed predominantly by the Americans.  Part-memoir, part-novel; part-personal, part-political; and told through the eyes of a child, it portrays the way character is formed and transformed by place and by the people who inhabit the place.

Her work has been honored recently with a number of recognitions. She has been awarded a 2012 fellowship to the Hawthornden International Retreat for Writers at Hawthornden Castle, Lasswade, Midlothian, Scotland. She was shortlisted (but, alas and alack, not selected) for both the 2012 and the 2011 David T.K. Wong Fellowship at the University of East Anglia in the United Kingdom.  She was the recipient of a 2009 Artist Trust (GAP) project grant and a 2007 Artist Trust/Washington State Arts Commission Fellowship. She has been selected for residencies at the Banff Centre, the Helen Riaboff Whiteley Center at Friday Harbor Laboratories, the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts and Yaddo. She is a graduate of the University of Hawai’i at Manoa and the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. She lives and teaches in Yakima, Washington, and is a fiction reader for Narrative Magazine.

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