Glenda Bailey-Mershon

Glenda Bailey-Mershon (Fiction, Poetry) | St. Augustine, FL

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Glenda Mariah Bailey-Mershon is an American poet, essayist, novelist, cultural historian, and human rights activist. Born in Upstate South Carolina to a family with roots in the Southern Appalachians, she has explored in poetry and fiction her European, Native American, and Romani heritage. Her published works include the novel, Eve’s Garden; Bird Talk: Poems; saconige/blue smoke: Poems from the Southern Appalachians; A History of the American Women’s Movement: A Study Guide, and four volumes as editor of the Jane’s Stories anthologies by women writers, including Jane’s Stories IV: Bridges and Borders (Jane’s Stories, 2013), which includes work by women in conflicts around the world.


Eve’s Garden (Twisted Road Publications, 2015). Novel. Fiction.


  • Saconige/Blue Smoke: Poems from the Southern Appalachians (Jane’s Stories Press Foundation, 2012). Poetry.
  • Bird Talk (Wild Dove Press, 2001). Poetry.

Blurbs, Press & Reviews

“I love the scope of this novel. I love its lushness and lyricism. . . . time and again the writing lifts off the page: transcendent and true and completely compelling . . .”
—Connie May Fowler, Author of Before Women Had Wings, Sugar Cage, and How Clarissa Burden Learned to Fly

“From the first pages of her debut novel, Glenda Bailey-Mershon invites us into the life of Eve Gates, a young woman in 1970s North Georgia, as she contemplates both a man she loves and the power of her own past. Of Romani descent, a ‘Gypsy’ heritage she has only overheard via the conversations of the women in her family, Eve has grown up listening for clues about who she is. Her mother has told her that blood from the womb makes women powerful, but her best friend falls victim to a community’s small-minded views about sexuality. Eve longs to write, to travel, but must first understand a history she knows only in bits and pieces. Stories, as Bailey-Mershon tells us, can pour out of our hearts like water. With Eve’s Garden, Glenda Bailey-Mershon invites us into a world where ‘words lodged tight against the breastbone’ free themselves, as secrets, personal and cultural, are finally reclaimed. ”
—Karen McElmurray, Author of Surrendered Child and The Motel of the Stars

“This virtuoso novel, like a fine symphony, succeeds on many levels, sweeping the reader away. The hard and soft edges of small-town life, especially for women coming of age in the rural South before the feminist movement, sings with details that are familiar to those of us who grew up in that era.”
—Christine Swanberg, Author of The Alleluia Tree,

“I love this book for so many reasons, but I think the main one is that it sits firmly within the Romani storytelling tradition. ”
—Qristina Zavackova Cummings, www.

By turns moving and biting, lyrical and dramatic, Eve’s Garden is filled with private secrets and lush images of the natural world. In this fine novel, Glenda Bailey-Mershon reveals she has the soul of a poet and the heart of a story-teller.”
—Diana Abu-Jaber, Author of Arabian Jazz and The Language of Baklava

Reading Eve’s Garden is akin to taking a journey that crosses continents, explores cultures, and vacillates back and forth through the years of 1919 to 1973. The beauty in Bailey-Mershon’s story is the way in which she develops incredibly strong female characters and evokes a strong sense of place.

Eve Gates wants to escape the small Southern mill town where her family goes about its daily life. Eve and her mother, Maisie, are often at odds. Her best friend has encountered an unspeakable tragedy. And, certain that there is a deep dark mystery that her mother and her aunts are keeping from her about the grandmother she never knew, Eve wants to know more about her Romani roots.

In time, Eve gradually realizes that the strong women in her life are bound by the power of friendship and family, even when trying to shield her from prejudice and loss.

This exquisite portrait of a group of people who are often misunderstood, ostracized, and/or vilified is filled with elements of mystery, romance, and history. It is a work of art in its own right, a work that will linger in your thoughts long after reading the last page.
—Lee Ambrose, Story Circle Book Reviews

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