Photo credit: Ian McCausland

Zilla Jones is an African-Canadian lawyer, anti-racist educator, mother, singer and writer from Treaty 1 territory and the homeland of the Metis nation (Winnipeg.) Although she has been writing since the age of three, she only began submitting her work in the fall of 2019. Since then, she has been longlisted for the CBC short fiction competition, shortlisted twice for the Writers Union of Canada short prose competition – most recently with three stories on the list, the Fiddlehead magazine short story competition, the Missouri Review Perkoff Prize, the Masters Review Anthology X, and the Freefall Magazine short prose contest (in progress.) She won Honourable Mention in the Room magazine short fiction contest, and first place in the GritLit short story contest, Malahat Review Open Season contest, and Prism Magazine Jacob Zilber short fiction prize. Her fiction has appeared in print in Prairie Fire, the Malahat Review and Prism, and online in Room and the Puritan Review.  

Zilla recently took a six-week creative writing course with Katherena Vermette through the University of Manitoba writer in residence program, and is fortunate to have been selected for mentorships through the Manitoba Writers Guild with Angeline Schellenberg, Diaspora Dialogues with Melanie Mah, and ECW Press with editor Nour Mallouh. She was also recently accepted to the Banff Centre Emerging Writers workshop and the Writers Trust BIPOC Writers Connect event. 

Zilla writes about identity, belonging, mothering and the mother-daughter relationship, race relations, inclusion/exclusion, and the long shadow of history and the weight of inherited trauma. She came into her own as a writer during a trifecta of pandemics: Covid-19, anti-Black racism and climate change, and so she feels an urgency to tell the stories that have always been in her heart but have not always been heard. 

Zilla is putting the finishing touches on her novel, The World So Wide, which, through opera singer Felicity Alexander, tells the story of the Grenadian Revolution, its collapse following an internal coup and invasion by the United States in 1983, and its traumatic aftermath. 

Zilla is represented by Chelene Knight.