Long story short…

I am a writer from Detroit, Michigan who loves romantic comedies, Rihanna, and realistic storytelling. Recently, I completed a PhD in Fiction at Western Michigan University and relocated to California (Bay Area), where I will begin as an Assistant Professor of Creative Writing in the fall. I write short and novel-length literary fiction for adults and young adults centered on Black life and Black love. My debut novel, What the Fireflies Knew is forthcoming from Tiny Reparations Books, an imprint of Penguin Random House, on February 1, 2022. When I’m not writing, I’m usually reading, running, or busy raising my three daughters!

In case you want the long story…

Kai Harris is a fiction writer and Assistant Professor of Creative Writing in the English department at Santa Clara University. Kai is an advocate for the Black community, and writes fiction filled with family, love, and #blackgirlmagic. Her short story, “The Waitress,” was published in 2017 in Rabble Lit, and was also featured as Longform’s “Fiction Pick of the Week.” Kai published an excerpt from her novel, What the Fireflies Knew in the Black Girlhood issue of Kweli Journal, and two flash fiction pieces: “For Jeannie” in the Hilltop Review and “No Joy” in Flash Fiction Magazine. Kai’s short story, “While We Live,” won the Gwen Frostic Creative Writing Award in Graduate Fiction at her university in 2020, and was published in Guernica in 2021.

In addition to fiction, Kai published “The Reimagining and Reinvigorating of a Storied Past,” a peer-reviewed Killens Review article from the Proceedings of the 14th National Black Writers Conference in March 2018. In addition to presenting at this conference in 2017 and 2018, she also participated in the Mellon Emerging Scholars Conference in November, 2018, where she spoke on the topic “Listening for Voices Other Than Your Own: Building an Inclusive Workshop Space for Students.” Kai has published essays on allyship, work-life balance, and mental health awareness as a contributing writer at The Everygirl.

Kai was selected as a fellow in the Mellon Foundation Humanities Without Walls Pre-Doctoral Career Diversity Summer Workshop in 2019, where she explored possibilities related to the Humanities. Kai is also a proud VONA/Voices Alum. During her PhD, Kai was editor-in-chief of Third Coast Magazine, and was recognized in 2018 for academic excellence among underrepresented students through the John Orr Prize at Western Michigan University. Prior to graduation, she won All-University awards for Teaching Excellence and Creative Research.