Jessica Reidy’s short story “Why the Pyres are Unlit” in Drunken Boat’s Romani Folio

romani folio

The Romani Folio for Drunken Boat

Drunken Boat recently released their Romani Folio, an issue featuring Romani ‘Gypsy’ writers of non-fiction, fiction, and poetry, curated by T.M. De Vos. CWW faculty and Executive Board member Jessica Reidy’s story “Why the Pyres are Unlit” was selected for the folio and follows the life of a young half-Romani woman caught in the cross currents of tradition and assimilation, desperation and ambition. The Roma are an oppressed, diasporic ethnic group originating in 10th century India and made nomadic by persecution, and often their voices are overlooked both in the literary canon and the media. This dedicated issue takes a step toward spotlighting the complexity and diversity of the Romani experience and underscoring the on-going Romani human rights crisis.

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