About J.D. Mathes

J.D. Mathes grew up a feral child in the deserts of the American Southwest who loved to read library books and take photographs. In 2019 he was awarded a PEN America Writing for Justice Fellowship and writes about the personal impact of incarceration. He has worked as a screenwriter with Rehabilitation Through the Arts, awarded the Norman Levan Grant three times, a Jack Kent Cooke Scholar alum, an award-winning author of four books, photographer, screenwriter, librettist, and an arts reporter for the University of California Riverside. Two of his four books are Shipwrecks and Other Stories – awarded Honorable Mention Los Angeles Book Festival – and a memoir, Ahead of the Flaming Front: A Life on Fire – Awarded the North American Book Prize for Memoir – about his experiences fighting wildfire throughout the American West, including four years on an elite helicopter rappel crew and ten years as a crew boss and an incident commander. His essays, stories, and poems have been published in literary journals and in literary competitions like the Mid-American Review, The Baltimore Review, The Southern Review, and Narrative Magazine where he placed as finalist several times and won their story competition in 2017. In March 2022 his short story, “The Long Road to Fresno,” was published in the literary journal, ReSentencing, published by Tufts University Prison Initiative of Tisch College and selected as the issue’s best story. Although Mathes still struggles with subject-verb agreement and where to put commas, he is currently working on a book length project, Ill Served: Veterans and Mass Incarceration, which will tell the stories of justice involved veterans and their experiences with mass incarceration.