Tessa Fontaine spent the 2013 season performing with the last American traveling circus sideshow, the World of Wonders. Essays about the sideshow have appeared on the literary website The Rumpus and featured in the “Best of the Rumpus,” emailed to subscribers each week. Other work can be found or is forthcoming in Creative Nonfiction, The Normal School Magazine, Seneca Review, DIAGRAM, New Orleans Review, [PANK], Brevity, and more, including a number of anthologies. Raised outside San Francisco, Tessa got her MFA from the University of Alabama and is currently a doctoral student in creative writing at the University of Utah. She is the recipient of the University of Alabama’s 2012 graduate departmental awards in fiction, nonfiction and poetry, and the 2013 awards in fiction and nonfiction. She has won the University of Utah’s Academic Fellowship and the University of Alabama’s National Alumni Fellowship, Boone Fellowship, Truman Capote Award and First-Year Teaching Award, and has recieved awards and fellowships from Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, The Taft Nicholson Center, Writing by Writers, Squaw Valley Community of Writers, and more. She has taught for the New York Times summer journeys, at the Universities of Alabama and Utah, and in prisons in Alabama and Utah.
Around the country, she has performed her one-woman plays in theatres ranging from New York to San Francisco. The scar on her cheek from a 2am whip act is slowly fading.
Tessa is represented by Ellen Levine at Trident Agency. Her book about performing with the sideshow, The Electric Woman, is forthcoming from Farrar, Straus and Giroux on May 1, 2018.