I was born and raised in Denver, Colorado. I "went east
to college" and graduated from Brown University in
Providence, R.I. Since then, I've lived in Massachusetts,
New Jersey, New York, Paris, France, and mainland
Today I live and write in Key West.
I once lived in a house that was brought to Key West
from the Bahamas in the 1800's. The thick heart
pine walls were so hard they bent nails. At the kitchen
doorway, old wood cupped beneath a new sill. I knew there was dust in the cracks
that dated from the original owners. I put a pencil and paper in the attic in case there was a
spirit presence with something to say. There wasn’t. But I never lost the sense of the people
who lived there before me. I discovered that the people who once owned the house now
rest in the city graveyard. I met members of the family. I researched details and events and
imagined what it would have been like to live in old Key West. These were the seeds of
Sand Dollar, Pieces of Eight, and Chambered Nautilus.
I can’t remember when I didn’t like to read and write. I've published nonfiction articles
about just about everything - horses, fitness, interviews. Maybe my favorite was the
dining column I wrote for a monthly magazine. I enjoy doing interviews, too, because
they let me ask the questions I wouldn't normally dare. Some other publications include:
They were published in the guild anthology, "Voices from Key West."
- My stories have won four prizes in the Key West Writers Guild short story contest.
Learned from Grandma," edited by Laurel Seiler Brunvoll.
- My reminiscence, "Grandmommy's Love," is included in "All My Good Habits I
Key West Writers Conference Anthology."
- My short story, Paint Job, was published in the "Florida International University
Wildlife Refuge contest.
- My essay was a finalist in the Inter-American Press Association Chapultepec Essay
- My fable, "Amavie," won second place in the Mississippi Sandhill Crane National
Who Changed 20th Century America."
- My articles on W.E.B. DuBois and Thurgood Marshall are included in "100 People
I recently retired from my position as the archivist at the Key West City Cemetery. Today
I organize Cemetery Strolls where groups of visitors walk from grave to grave and learn
the city's history through the stories of the people who built it. I also volunteer for the
Friends of the Library and mentor a high school student in a scholarship program
called Take Stock in Children.
© Jane Louise Newhagen