“Christman has great talent. [Her memoir] is a joy. Read it, and see how many bits of life come clear.”
— Barry Sanders

Jill Christman is the author of If This Were Fiction: A Love Story in Essays, two memoirs (Darkroom: A Family Exposure and Borrowed Babies: Apprenticing for Motherhood), and essays in magazines such as Brevity, Creative Nonfiction, Fourth Genre, and Iron Horse Literary Review. A 2020 NEA Fellow and senior editor for River Teeth: A Journal of Nonfiction Narrative, she teaches at Ball State University.

Review of Hell If We Don’t Change Our Ways

Check out my review of Brittany Means’s Hell If We Don’t Change Our Ways.

If This Were Fiction

My new book is out! I’ve been writing essays for over fifteen years, and it’s been a glorious ride, but I’d never put out a collection of just Jill Christman essays between two covers …

If This Were Fiction: A Love Story in Essays

If This Were Fiction: A Love Story in Essays

If This Were Fiction is a love story—for Jill Christman’s long-ago fiancé, who died young in a car accident; for her children; for her husband, Mark; and ultimately, for herself. In this collection, Christman takes on the wide range of situations and landscapes she encountered on her journey from wild child through wounded teen to mother, teacher, writer, and wife. Published in the American Lives series from University of Nebraska Press September 2022.

“Mr. Cosmos” at New Ohio Review

The title character of “Mr. Cosmos” is my fifth-grade science teacher from Newbury Elementary School in Massachusetts—a man so wonderful he would leap on his desk and do interpretive dances …

Spinning: Against the Rules of Angels

Spinning: Against the Rules of Angels was Creative Nonfiction Magazine’s True Story. Issue #12, 2017. For years, Jill Christman has been waiting for her long-lost lover to communicate with her from beyond the grave. Finally, he walks into her early-morning exercise class, setting her world awhirl.


In teaching news, Ball State honored my work with a group of students dedicated to raising awareness and providing resources around the issue of sexual violence on our nation’s campuses with a 2021 Immersive Learning Faculty Award. If you’re a member of a university community, I hope you’ll check out the details of our project at IndeliblePodcast.com …


“Falling”—a longform essay—won the 2021 Iron Horse Literary Review Long Story Contest and was later released by IHLR released in a beautiful, illustrated, e-single that you can download for free. The essay’s core narrative chronicles the writer’s son’s fall from a sugar maple tree and explores how we navigate the scariest things and most profound losses.

Darkroom: A Family Exposure by Jill Christman

Darkroom: A Family Exposure

Winner of Association of Writers and Writing Programs Award for Creative Nonfiction, Darkroom: A Family Exposure is Jill Christman’s gripping, funny, and wise account of her first thirty years. Although her story runs the gamut of dramatic life events, including childhood sexual abuse, accidental death, and psychological trauma, Christman’s poignant memoir is much more than a litany of horrors; instead, it is an open-eyed, wide-hearted, and good-humored look at a life worth surviving.