I believe the most subversive act a woman can commit is to tell her story. The world whispers (or shouts) all our lives: be nice, sit down, be quiet. To the world I shout: I will not, I will not, I will not. I am a woman. I am a writer. This is my story.
~Kelly J Beard
author | mentor |
Kelly J. Beard is the author of the critically acclaimed full-length memoir, An Imperfect Rapture, as well as personal essays published in Ruminate, Creative Nonfiction, Santa Ana River Review, Five Points, Bacopa Literary Review, and other literary journals. In 2019, the Georgia Writers Association recognized her as Georgia Author of the Year.
Kelly came to creative writing after decades of working as an employment discrimination lawyer, during which time she received multiple awards for her legal and community service, including being named a “Super Lawyer,” a “Star of Atlanta,” and one of the nation’s “Preeminent Female Lawyers.” Her work assisting victims of domestic violence earned her a Certificate of Recognition from the Georgia Coalition Against Domestic Violence. Prior to her legal career, she worked as a political activist for progressive causes and candidates.
During the early 2000s, Kelly founded the Professional Women’s Information Network (ProWIN), which remains a singular forum for professional women.
Prior to law school and a career as a lawyer, Kelly earned a BA in classical piano, despite entering college with no formal training in music. Music, like dance, (but thankfully, not writing) is one of the art forms least amenable to late-bloomers. And yet, Kelly’s dedication ultimately won her a full-year scholarship to study piano in Strasbourg, France, and an opportunity to cross borders she didn’t even know existed. Although her late entry into the music world left some dreams unattainable, learning classical piano proved to be one of the most healing experiences of her life. Kelly’s art forms extend to theater and pottery as well.
Kelly returned to college in 2014 in order to learn the craft of creative writing, earning her MFA in 2016. Her work explores painful American shadowlands in lyrical writing saturated with singular beauty and deep wisdom.