J.R.
Award-Winning Memoirist & Fiction Writer
Empathy Advocate
Travels from: Indianapolis, IN

“. . . One of the most humane and challenging memoirs to come out of the Midwest . . . Indeed, we are all more than heroes and villains, and Jamison does a great job of showing how and where our humanity gets lost between the two.” – Ashley C. Ford, author of Somebody’s Daughter and host of the HBO podcast Lovecraft Country Radio

J.R. Jamison is the award-winning author of the memoir Hillbilly Queer and host of the NPR podcast and radio show The Facing Project (recorded and produced at Indiana Public Radio). He is also a founder of the national Facing Project network, a nonprofit in 18 states and over 100 communities that creates a more understanding and empathetic world through stories that inspire action, where he serves as president of the organization.

J.R. has written for The Huffington Post, Pangyrus, Writer’s Digest, and various other print and web publications. His work has been covered by outlets such as The Guardian, Harlem World Magazine, PBS, Runner’s World, and The Statesider, among others. Currently, he is writing his debut young-adult novel.

J.R. is a two-time graduate of Ball State University with a B.S. in Cultural Geography and Creative Writing and an M.A.Ed. in Student Affairs Administration. He considers himself a recovering academic after spending nearly two decades in higher education (all enjoyable years, of course!).

J.R. lives in Muncie, Indiana, with his husband Cory and their loveable, super cute, always-ready-for-the-camera pit bull-Boston terrier mix, J.J. When not writing and recording, J.R. can be found long-distance running, sipping coffee in a deck lounger with 55-pound J.J. on his lap, or on the couch binging Netflix (currently, his favorite show is Stranger Things with Sex Education as a close second).

Hillbilly Queer: A Memoir

Facing Project Press |
Memoir

J.R. Jamison spends his days in a world of trigger warnings and safe spaces, while his trigger-happy dad, Dave, spends his questioning why Americans have become so sensitive. Yet at the height of the 2016 election, the two decide to put political differences aside and travel together to rural Missouri for Dave’s fifty-five year class reunion. But with the constant backdrop of the Trump vs. Clinton battle at every turn, they are forced to explore one formidable question: Will the trip push them further apart or bring them closer together?

Dave has always accepted his gay son. J.R. must learn if he can accept his conservative-leaning dad. Traveling together through the rural, sun-beaten landscapes of Missouri, the two meet people along the way who challenge their concepts of right and wrong, and together they uncover truths about their family’s past that reveals more than political differences—they discover a lesson on the human condition that lands them on the international pages of The Guardian. Hillbilly Queer is an enduring love story between a dad and son who find that sometimes the differences between us aren’t really that different at all.

“J.R. Jamison has written one of the most humane and challenging memoirs to come out of the Midwest. This is a perfect read to begin talking about all the conflicting, yet connected, issues forcing a reckoning for those who thought they knew what the world was, and who they were in it. Indeed, we are all more than heroes and villains, and Jamison does a great job of showing how and where our humanity gets lost between the two. I’m so glad I let him guide me through the trip.”— Ashley C. Ford, author of “Somebody’s Daughter” and host of the HBO podcast “Lovecraft Country Radio”

“One of those rare books that finds beauty in the irreconcilable. In an age when our politics and our nation can feel broken, Hillbilly Queer shows us the messy glue of love that still holds families together. At turns powerful and vulnerable, J.R. Jamison takes the reader on a journey as profound and moving as the road trip he took with his father at the dawn of the Trump era.”—Samantha Allen, author of “Real Queer America”

 

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Hillbilly Queer: A Conservative Father, a Liberal Son, and a Journey Together Across America’s Heartland

Award-winning author and NPR host J.R. Jamison explores identity, family, and bridging divides in an interactive talk and reading that journeys through his relationship with his father to show that sometimes the differences between us aren’t really that different at all.

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An Evening with J.R. Jamison

Award-winning author and NPR host J.R. Jamison will be in-conversation with a guest of the host’s choice to discuss identity, family, and bridging divides. Guest(s) could be college/university president, faculty member, or student leader; mayor or community leader; or another author/writer from the host’s community.

Optional reading.

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Facing Our Stories: Confronting Polarization Through Documentary Theatre and Storytelling

Through humor, readings, and good old-fashioned storytelling, award-winning author and NPR host J.R. Jamison will help audiences understand how storytelling and writing heighten empathy, challenge biases and assumptions, and combat polarization.

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Writing with an Empathetic Eye (and Ears) to Enhance Character Development

Award-winning author and NPR host J.R. Jamison will lead attendees through an interactive writing workshop that explores authentic listening and empathy as ways to enhance character development for fiction and nonfiction writers.

An intimate workshop intended for a maximum of 50 attendees

NPR | The Facing Project Radio Show

The Facing Project

J.R.’s Website

Honors, Awards & Recognition

Nautilus Book Award Winner
Finalist for the 2022 Indiana Authors Award
Nominated for the 2022 Dayton Literary Peace Prize
Nominated for the 2021 Peabody Award for Podcast & Radio

Media Kit

By clicking the link below your will be directed to a Google Docs Folder
where you can download author photos and cover images.

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