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Gardner Perry

Writer. Educator. Artist Convener.
Black Liberationist.


About Me

Zenique Gardner Perry writes stories about family, race, faith and all its intersections. Sometimes, her work pushes a social justice agenda. While a Midwestern native, Zenique eventually moved to Philadelphia where she ultimately received an English Writing degree from Eastern University and spent a semester abroad in East Africa. In 2013, Zenique was the sole American writer selected as a Farafina Fellow by renown Nigerian author, Chimamanda Adichie. There, Zenique joined writers across the Diaspora in a two-week residency in Lagos, Nigeria.

In 2015, Zenique moved back to St. Louis after living in Philadelphia for over a decade. She has since co-founded Undo Bias, a consulting group that accompanies organizations in their antiracism efforts. In her work, Zenique incorporates writing as a way to address racism. A graduate of the MFA Creative Nonfiction Program at Washington University in St. Louis, Zenique has also received awards and support for her writing from The Delacorte Review, The Writer’s Colony at Dairy Hollow in Arkansas, Storyknife Women Writers’ Retreat in Alaska, and The Regional Arts Commission of St. Louis. She is currently working on a collection of essays that explore the iconography of white Jesus. Zenique lives in St. Louis, Missouri with her husband, niece and nephew.

About Me
My Works

My Works

What They Call Us is Magic

We were kids who wore talking shoes and too small clothes, spending paper dollars from the feds on hot pickles and penny candy at the corner liquor store. Kwintessa and LaCreshia, Tameka, Shaunta, Tanisha, and Miesha were the names my friends were given. The boys who chased us were Lamont and Tyrone, Demetrius and Malik, DaQuan, Jamal and Javion. It was the nineties. And a post-industrial, Black, Midwestern town was home. Here, everything about what we called ourselves and each other felt right.

An Inheritance

I told Granny, many years before she died and after a tangent she’d started about “going on to be with the Lord,” that whenever she made her transition, she should leave her collection of books to me.

When Momma’s Prayers Weren’t Enough

I found Momma on her knees many times that first month I was back home. Her prayers were never quiet, each one ending in wails and foreign tongues.

I was fourteen: a memoir

It is 1994. East Saint Louis. Mississippi River town. Post-white flight. All Black folks. House on corner. Brick and mortar. No picket fence. All ours though. Family stayed close. Friends were too.

What's Happening

What's Happening

Homie, You Can Do It Too

Artist Support Grant (Literary Arts)

Regional Arts Commission (RAC) of St. Louis


Neureuther Library Award

Washington University


Storyknife Writing Residency

Homer, AK


Illuminating Black Lives Fellowship

The Writing Colony at Dairy Hollow, AR


Diversity Grant/Mentorship

The Delacorte Review, Columbia Journalism School



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