Jessica Reidy’s “Romani ‘Gypsy’ Power in Sci-Fi and Fantasy” in Fantasy Literature’s Expanded Universe


The author in a photo shoot for Quail Bell Magazine’s “Free Spirits. ” Image by Sarah Sullivan.

Kate Lechler’s column “The Expanded Universe” for Fantasy Literature recently featured CWW faculty and Executive Board member Jessica Reidy’s essay “Romani ‘Gypsy’ Power in Sci-Fi and Fantasy” part I and part II. The first part of the essay explores the literary trope of the Gypsy and its three functions: the spell-caster, the criminal, and the trickster. In doing so, she discusses why these stereotypes persist and how they negatively impact the on-going Romani human rights crisis. The second part looks critically at the genre of magical realism and argues that, culturally, the distinction between The Fantastic and The Real is arbitrary. She also takes a look at stories by Romani writers Raјko Đurić and Caren Gussof-Sumption that straddle that liminal space.

Jessica Reidy worked on her MFA in Fiction at Florida State University and holds a B.A. from Hollins University. Her work is Pushcart-nominated and has appeared in Narrative Magazine as Short Story of the Week, The Los Angeles Review, The Missouri Review, and other journals. She’s Managing Editor for VIDA: Women in the Literary Arts, Art Editor for The Southeast Review, Adjunct Professor for LIM College in Manhattan, Visiting Professor for the Cambridge Writers’ Workshop retreats, Outreach Editor for Quail Bell Magazine, and freelances as a writer and editor. She also teaches yoga and works her Romani (Gypsy) family trades, fortune telling, energy healing, and dancing. Jessica is currently writing her first novel set in post-WWII Paris about Coco Charbonneau, the half-Romani burlesque dancer and fortune teller of Zenith Circus, who becomes a Nazi hunter. Visit her online at