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  • Writer's pictureTara Pohlkotte

Meet the Tellers: Jill Swenson and Jonathon Fernandez

We have been introducing you to the tellers who will be stepping up to the microphone for our April 8th Main Stage event. Tickets are available and will serve as a fundraiser to help support Storycatchers' mission and programming. You can buy your tickets HERE.

Jill Swenson

I met Jill this past summer at a Storycatchers writers meetup. She came in with her willingness to undress her own writing to find where it could be stronger and an eagerness to help others do the same. Since that time she has shared with us her professional skills as well as my favorite, her stories.

Jill Swenson has worked as a car mechanic, lifeguard in Saudi Arabia, college journalism professor, Christmas wreath-maker, produce vendor, writing coach, and is now a literary agent. She lived off the grid for a decade and raised deer, elk, and buffalo in upstate New York and now calls Appleton home.

You can hear one of my favorite stories Jill has told HERE

Jonathon Fernandez

I met Jay when his wife oh-so-smartly signed herself up for a story slot for our second Live event and then, when it was her turn to go up, she pushed Jay up to tell a hilarious story. Since then Jay has shared many more tales from his life in New York and now, the Fox Cities.

Jonathon Fernandez (Jay Speaks, Chaplyn, Servorum Dei, or Manny Petty) was born in 1973 and raised in Brooklyn, New York. In 1990 he moved to Kentucky, where he obtained his General Equivalency diploma and a vocational trade certificate in carpentry. By mid-1991 he moved to Miami, Florida where he attended one year of college, met his future wife, and had three children (two girls and one boy). In 1999 (full of ambition and hoping to offer his children greater opportunities), he decided to move his family to Wisconsin.

From an early age, very few teachers found amusement in Jay's affinity for storytelling. Although the dog never ate his homework; it was at times, intercepted by secret agents collecting data for global espionage. This latchkey child with a runaway imagination, but an aptitude for reading comprehension and vocabulary, found himself in and out of special education classes, where he met Michael Horowitz (a teacher that encouraged him to write). At first, Jay honed his written voice with rap lyrics, but later moved onto fictional narratives. At the age of 35 and after fifteen years working in construction, Jay returned to school and received his degree in English with an emphasis in creative writing from the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh. He's presently writing a memoir (working title): "Everybody's talking at me".

Listen to the endearing story Jay told about his relationship with his Grandmother HERE

And tune in today to 91.1 The Avenue to the Storycatchers segment on 'Soul of the Cities' to hear two more of Jill and Jay's stories.

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