Jana Ross, the grand prize winner of the African Diaspora Award, has always kept diaries and journals as a child. As a young girl, she exchanged poetry journals with her best friend. The intimacy of community remains one of her most cherished aspects of poetry and sharing stories.
Artists like Gwendolyn Brooks, Virginia Woolf, FKA Twigs, La Dispute are among those who inspire Ross’s work. But she also credits friends and family members. In particular, her auntie, Sharon Bridgforth, a writer that she recommends checking out, inspires her the most.
Ross hopes to one day publish a book of her own and connect with other writers. She also intends to explore writing lengthier poems and various poetry forms. Her poetry collection, “Me and My Hair”, made a striking impact on the contest judge and poet Akin Jeje, who found “Clay People” to be his favorite in the top poems among the poetry of 30 nations.