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Jo Scott-Coe


Jo Scott-Coe is the author of two nonfiction books: a memoir in essays, Teacher at Point Blank (Aunt Lute 2010), and MASS: A Sniper, a Father, and a Priest (Pelekinesis 2018), which won the silver medal for biography in the 2020 eLit awards.


Her writing on intersections of “private” and “public” violence has been published in venues including Salon, American Studies Journal, Pacific Coast Philology, Tahoma Literary Review, Talking Writing, Catapult, Superstition Review, and Fourth Genre. Her article, “The Perfect Victim: Childhood Sexual Trauma and Gendered Catholic Identity” appears in  Crisis and Challenge in the Roman Catholic Church: Perspectives on Decline and Reformation (Rowman & Littlefield 2020). 


A teacher of composition and literature for nearly thirty years, Scott-Coe currently works as an associate professor of English at Riverside City College, where she was named 57th Distinguished Faculty Lecturer for her research on lost histories in stories of mass shootings. Scott-Coe also facilitates community writing workshops for the Inlandia Institute, a nonprofit regional literary arts organization in Southern California.


Find her on Twitter @joscottcoe on FB @teacheratpointblank and on the web, She is currently at work on a new book for the University of Texas Press, a life-in-letters of Kathy Leissner Whitman, who was killed by her husband in private the night before he committed the 1966 UT Austin massacre.



Jo Scott Coe's very fine memoir of her teaching life is unlike anything I have read before. Her lean prose is unyielding to sentimentality and aspires always toward honesty about our lives as adults and as children. One is, here, in the presence of a writer who convinces us that teaching young lives is a constant and, sometimes, terrible journey of adult self-discovery. 

—Richard Rodriguez, author of Brown: The Last Discovery of America


This unique and daring book lifts the cheerful, can-do mask that hides the reality of what it means to be a teacher. In luminous prose, Jo Scott-Coe debunks the sentimentalized mystique, exposing the harsh reality of extreme expectations, 

isolation, and psychic disconnect that engulfs teachers' lives. Scott-Coe's truth is at once disturbing and emancipating. 

—Susan Ohanian, author of Why Is Corporate America Bashing Our Public Schools?


Jo Scott-Coe writes with humor, insight, and a deep love for her subject. In many ways, she has become a voice for her generation and for teachers, too. Remarkable.

—Chris Abani, author of GraceLand and The Virgin of Flames

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