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 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:
Learned from Grandma," edited by Laurel Seiler Brunvoll.
- My stories have won four prizes in the Key West Writers Guild short story contest. The
titles were "Remembrance," "Suenos," "Confession," and "The English Lesson."
"Confession" and "The English Lesson" were published in the guild anthology, "Voices
from Key West."
- My reminiscence, "Grandmommy's Love," is included in "All My Good Habits I
Wildlife Refuge contest.
- My short story, Paint Job, was published in the "Florida International University Key
West Writers Conference Anthology."
- 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
- My articles on W.E.B. DuBois and Thurgood Marshall are included in "100 People Who
Changed 20th Century America."
I recently retired from my position as the archivist at the Key West City Cemetery
where I collected and coordinated information about the graves and enter the information
into the computer. 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