Background and Education

When I was in college, I fell in love with a literature professor. She was all that I dreamed of being, and she looked out for me and encouraged me in ways I never knew one human being would look out for another. A bit before graduation, she gave me a book of poetry by Robert Frost. She bookmarked, “The Road Not Taken.” She was a smart woman, one that believed in me when I didn’t believe in myself, “And that has made all the difference” (Frost).

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I am a high school dropout. I went back to school as an adult. In my thirties I earned an associate in arts degree and a bachelor’s degree in English with a minor in women’s studies. I fell in love with Alice Walker, Octavia Butler, Virginia Woolf, Toni Morrison, Sylvia Plath, and Zora Neale Hurston. I couldn’t get enough of learning about their worlds.

For my master’s degree I decided to focus more closely on women and on African’American studies. I was turned on to post-structuralism and the work of theorists such as Helene Cixous and Luce Irgaray, and I learned about deconstruction, binaries, and the construction of gender, race, sexuality, and other social constructs. By the time I received my master’s degree in literature, I knew that anything I wrote, non-fiction or fiction, from that time on would deal with the critiquing of societal norms such as gender, race, sexuality, and ability.

I went on to get an EdD, believing I wanted to spend the rest of my days in adult education. My dissertation was an autoethnography–a research practice that aligns with the field of women/gender/queer studies–and my topic dealt with the construction of Other. What the study did, ultimately, was help me to understand that writing had to be a part of what I do, and the writing I did had to closely align with queer studies.

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It took many years traversing the path I chose before I found my voice in fiction writing. I started with short stories. Some were good, and some I wrote off as early learning experiences. The more I wrote, the more I wanted to write, and in my fifties, I wrote my first novel. One year later, I wrote my second. As I type this, I am working on my third. It has been a bumpy road, a curvy path, a way forward that could have diverged in so many directions, but it diverged in this one, and for that I am thankful.

What can I do for you?

I am trained to create and deliver workshops for faculty and students. For over twenty years, I have taught others to teach, to present, and to write fiction and non-fiction.

When I’m not learning with my own students, I love to engage others in their own learning journey.

If you want to learn more about storytelling in fiction or nonfiction, let’s chat.

In addition, I am always excited to work with high schools, colleges, and the general population on motivational and educational topics, and would be honored to customize a training or keynote presentation that meets the need of your particular audience.

♥♥♥ P. S.

Tammy is a member of Sisters in Crime and Mystery Writers of America. She’s appeared on and moderated several writers conference panels and appeared as a keynote speaker and workshop host.

Tammy is available for speaking engagements, interviews, and signings. She is happy to make appearances (IRL or virtual) at book clubs and other literary-related groups. You can contact her by email at tammybirdauthor@gmail.com.

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