Joshilyn Jackson was born in the Deep South and raised by a tribe of wild fundamentalists who taught her to be virtuous and upright. Unfortunately, it didn't take, and Ms. Jackson dropped out of college to pursue a career as an actor. She worked in regional repertoire and traveled the southern third of the country with a dinner theater troupe, but after a few years she realized that she preferred writing plays to acting in them.
She decided both virtue and an education were worth the work, so she went back to college to study English literature, focusing on Modern and Medieval Theater. She graduated with honors from Georgia State. She moved to Chicago and managed to recover from a near-terminal case of culture shock just in time to earn her MA in English from the University of Illinois at Chicago. Ms. Jackson taught English at UIC, trying to explain the function of the gerund and why Moby Dick is a great book to crowds of students. In her first year of teaching, she won the Student's Choice Award for Best English Instructor.
Her short fiction has been published in literary magazines and anthologies including TriQuarterly and Calyx, and her plays have been produced in Atlanta and Chicago. Her bestselling debut novel, Gods in Alabama won SIBA's 2005 Novel of the year Award and was a #1 BookSense pick. Between, Georgia was also a #1 BookSense pick, making Jackson the first author in BookSense history to receive #1 status in back to back years. Both books were chosen for the Books-A-Million Book Club. Her third novel, The Girl Who Stopped Swimming, a national bestseller, was released in March of 2008. She is currently at work on her next novel.