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Work Samples

Yellow Arrow Literary Night

I'm not afraid of public speaking. But this, my first literary reading, had me shaking. (This is at Yellow Arrow Publishing's Literary Night in August 2019.)

Trash Wheel Fan Fest 2021

This vignette, which I wrote in honor of my momma's love for Mr. Trash Wheel, is the first piece I was able to write from start to finish after my brother's sudden death several weeks earlier. (October 2021.)

Baltimore Is Where

I submitted this vignette nine times before it found its home. (November 2022.)

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About Kerry

Baltimore City - Highlandtown A&E District

Kerry Graham's picture
As a baby, Kerry didn't sleep with a blankie or a stuffed animal; she slept with a children's book. Her immediate love of reading has never wavered, and has ultimately propeled her to become a writer. Fear--of starting, struggling, even succeeding--prevented Kerry from sharing her stories untli her late twenties. At that point, she realized the fear wasn't going anywhere. She'd just have to do it scared. 

tough stuff

I've found that looking closely at life's hardest experiences--after the fact, on the page--is scarier than living through them the first time. 

  • Hazard of Hope

    "Hazard of Hope" was my first public acknowledgment that my long-term relationship had ended. I wrote it, in part, to force myself to address my shame (at the time) of being unmarried. (This essay was published in March 2015. The entire piece can be read here: https://www.elephantjournal.com/2015/03/the-hazard-of-hope/)
  • Laurence

    Laurence is my first--and so far, only--friend to have died. I didn't get to say goodbye. (This vignette was published in January 2016. The piece can also be read here: https://tellusastoryblog.com/2016/01/20/its-our-first-flash-non-fiction-week-of-2016/)
  • How I Learned My Weight Is Not My Worth

    Although family and close friends already knew about my disordered eating, this essay was my first time sharing widely about my struggles. (This essay was published in January 2016. The entire piece can be read here: https://www.elephantjournal.com/2016/01/how-i-learned-that-my-weight-is-not-my-worth/)
  • Virus

    "Virus" is a tiny, true story that I only felt comfortable sharing if I called it fiction. (This vignette was published in January 2016. The piece can also be read here: https://www.everywritersresource.com/shortstories/virus-by-kerry-graham/)
  • June 3rd

    I wrote this vignette in response to the murder of one of my students--the first of several over my career. In it, I combined fact and fiction; otherwise, his loss felt too real. (This vignette was published in April 2016. The piece can also be read here: https://aquietcourage.wordpress.com/2016/04/01/june-3rd/)
  • The First Time I Cared About Myself More Than The Consequences

    While this wasn't my first time writing about anxiety, it was the first time I shared about my anxiety getting the better of me. (This essay was re-published in February 2019. The entire piece can be read here: https://ravishly.com/first-time-i-cared-about-myself-more-consequences)
  • Anxiety Left Me Weak, But It Made Me Stronger

    This essay is an honest, and humbling, examination of how my anxiety affects my relationship with my students. (This essay was published in March 2019. The entire piece can be read here: https://medium.com/my-sweet-dumb-brain/anxiety-left-me-weak-but-it-made-me-stronger-70ab8a5897c1)
  • Long hours, no respect: One teacher’s cry for help

    Before this essay was published, a union representative told me what to expect if the school district disciplined me the way they have other educators who have publicly criticized their leadership. (This essay was published in June 2022. The entire piece can be read here: https://www.thebaltimorebanner.com/creatives-in-residence/long-hours-no-respect-one-teachers-cry-for-help-LJ276YUIYNEGPOX4COVM7SVW3M/)
  • What losing my brother taught me about grief: Take the advice that works, leave the rest

    The hardest thing I've ever had to write was my brother's obituary. This essay--my first on grieving his sudden death--is the second. (This essay was published in December 2022. The entire piece can be read here: https://www.thebaltimorebanner.com/creatives-in-residence/holiday-grief-self-care-J6HXJLZEQJERDDVQNJ4RYIJFDI/)

facing the imposter

None of these experiences would have happened if I'd listened to all the reasons my writing isn't worthy enough.

  • Yellow Arrow Inaugural Writer-in-Residence

    I applied for Yellow Arrow Publishing's Writer-in-Residence program not because I thought I'd be accepted, but because I was intentionally facing my fear of rejection. (More information is available here: https://www.yellowarrowpublishing.com/news/writers-in-real-life-kerry-graham, April 2019.)
  • Yellow Arrow Literary Night

    I'm not afraid of public speaking. But this, my first literary reading, had me shaking. (This is at Yellow Arrow Publishing's Literary Night in August 2019.)
  • MoonLit Workshop

    I wrote the entire proposal feeling unqualified to coach any other writers on their craft. I submitted it just in case I was. (This workshop took place in September 2019.)
  • Brave Enough To Be

    I suspected the listeners of this podcast could become my future readers, so I pitched myself as a guest on the show. (This episode aired in February 2020. The audio is here: https://podbay.fm/p/brave-enough-to-be/e/1580889600)
  • Baltimore Stories

    Almost immediately after my first reading (in August 2019), I created an art series with other Baltimore artists. Starting in October 2019, we presented at various local venues. I read vignettes about my experiences teaching high school English, each of which was accompanied by either the artwork of painter Joann Dewwealth-O'Brien or photographer Rachel Shifreen. The visual art, inspired by the vignettes, revealed glimpses of each artist's individual impression of Baltimore.
  • Highlandtown Feature Artist

    I had to stop myself from declining the opportunity to be among Highland Featured Artists. (The piece, which went live in August 2021, is here: http://www.ihearthighlandtown.com/2021/08/03/artist-profile-kerry-graham/?fbclid=IwAR1sMo3JFrAQ_-i6i8LtMot1Yy8eLzhgWL29Wv_b4aVgLGFhYW7R3U7sY2s)

remaining relentless

I've easily abandoned countless pieces over the years. Only a few have insisted I hold on, have made me scared of the possibility that they'd never find their home.  

  • Wish

    After being rejected seven times elsewhere, this flash fiction was published in Spry Literary Journal (June 2015). (https://sprylit.com/archives/issue-06/flash/wish/)
  • He Is

    After being rejected seven times elsewhere, this vignette was published in The Citron Review (December 2018). (https://citronreview.com/2018/12/21/he-is/)
  • Wail

    After being rejected 10 times elsewhere, this vignette was published in Crack the Spine (Feb 2019). (https://pub.lucidpress.com/crackthespine249/#4rCAzSaDo77p)
  • School

    After being rejected 16 times elsewhere, this vignette was published in borrowed solace (Spring 2019).
  • Word(s) Count

    After being rejected 12 times elsewhere, this vignette was published in borrowed solace (Spring 2019).
  • Slow His Feet

    After being rejected 20 times elsewhere, the vignette "Slow His Feet" was published in Yellow Arrow Publishing's December 2019 zine. It appears below with permission: His footsteps sound like a panic attack. He only looks at me occasionally; otherwise, his eyes remain on the floor, unraveling his erratic path in the space between desks. Watching him, I wince. Until now, I have only ever known him to whisper jokes in class so my other students will laugh, or refuse the help I know he needs on assignments.
  • Baltimore Is Where

    After being rejected nine times elsewhere, this vignette was published in Delmarva Review (November 2022). (https://delmarvareview.org/contributors-volume-12/)
  • NaNoWriMo Winner 2022

    I was so afraid I'd never be able to say I wrote my book.

celebration of self

Some of my sweetest successes, all of which I found on the other side of fear.

  • 2018 Nominees

    "Dare" is one of my favorite micros I've written, a true story disguised as make-believe. (It was published in September 2017, and can be read here: https://atlasandalice.com/2017/09/25/fiction-from-kerry-graham/)
  • No, I Don't Want To Have Kids And I'm Tired Of Having To Explain Why Not

    My first major byline! (This essay was published in July 2019. It can be read here: https://www.huffpost.com/entry/happily-childless-women_n_5d16788ce4b082e553691e1b)
  • No quiero tener hijos y estoy harta de explicar por qué

    My first major byline was translated into Spanish. (The translation was published in July 2019. It can be read here: https://www.huffingtonpost.es/entry/no-quiero-tener-hijos-y-estoy-harta-de-explicar-por-que_es_5d1de053e4b04c48140faf57?utm_hp_ref=es-solteros)
  • Je ne veux pas d’enfants et je suis lasse d’expliquer mes raisons

    My first major byline was also translated in French. (The translation was published in July 2019. It can be read here: https://www.huffingtonpost.fr/life/article/je-ne-veux-pas-d-enfants-et-je-suis-lasse-d-expliquer-mes-raisons_148527.html)
  • Stop Expecting Women To Be Mothers

    When Googling myself one day, I discovered that my essay about being childfree by choice was cited by another writer. (Her piece was published in September 2019. The entire essay can be read here: https://www.scarymommy.com/childfree-women-motherhood-expectations/amp)
  • The Baltimore Banner announces “Creatives in Residence”

    I am among a handful of Baltimore-based artists who The Baltimore Banner invited to be their inaugural Creatives in Residence. (The announcement was made in March 2022. It can be read here: https://www.thebaltimorebanner.com/creatives-in-residence/the-baltimore-banner-announces-creatives-in-residence-to-celebrate-baltimore-writers-and-artists-UB4T5WVITRHLNLSIMYY7ODORCM/)
  • Dan Rather tweeted my vignette

    The same day The Baltimore Banner published one of my vignettes, Dan Rather read and shared it. (The vignette was published in July 2022. The piece can be read here: https://www.thebaltimorebanner.com/creatives-in-residence/teaching-is-hard-moments-like-these-keep-me-going-GCYUUBRCXBC4PCS6HSHFK4IG54/ This is his tweet: https://twitter.com/DanRather/status/1552310296383029250?s=20&t=ZUlG0kebg802nZhU6wY4oQ)

Kerry's Curated Collection

View Kerry's favorite works from other Baker Artists

Your Leaving – Laura Laing

"Your Leaving" was published in the 10th Anniversary of Consequence: An International Literary Magazine Focusing on War, which comes out annually. It was recognized as the 2019 Outstanding Essay by the American Society of Journalists and Authors (ASJA).