Fun Facts about FGP:

• The editor and founder is Jennifer Niesslein, and the staff photographer is Gina Easley. (Psst—she’s amazing.)

• It debuted on September 4, 2013.

• Jill Talbot’s essay “Autobiographies” was honored as a Notable Essay in Best American Essays 2014.

• Sara Bir’s essay “Smelted” was chosen for Best Food Writing 2014.

• In 2014, Full Grown People published its first book: Greatest Hits, Volume One, a collection of thirty essays. You can order it exclusively here.

• In 2015, we published the second anthology, Soul Mate 101 and Other Essays on Love and Sex. You can order it exclusively here.

• In 2015, Randy Osborne’s “All Sorts of Things and Weather, Taken in Together” and Antonia Malchik’s “Reclaimed Ambition” were honored as Notable Essays in Best American Essays 2015.

• In 2016, Jane Eaton Hamilton’s “Never Say I Didn’t Bring You Flowers,” Jody Mace’s “The Population of Me,” Lynn Nugent’s “The Get-Out-of-Jail-Free Card,” and Deesha Philyaw’s “How Can You Be Mad at Someone Who’s Dying of Cancer?” were honored as Notable Essays in Best American Essays 2016.

• In 2017, Jerry Portwood’s “Unresolved Sexual Tension Between Friends” was selected for Best Gay Stories 2017.

• In 2017, Jacqueline Doyle’s “A Eulogy, Despite” and Jennifer Niesslein’s “Before We Were Good White” were honored as Notable Essays in Best American Essays 2017.


Welcome to Full Grown People!

Thanks so much for checking us out! On Tuesdays and Thursdays, FGP publishes essays that tackle those moments in life when you wonder, what’s next?

Maybe you’d like to know more.

A couple of years ago, I interviewed Nicholas Christakis. Christakis studies how people—even people who don’t know each other—influence one another’s choices in life, from weight gain (or loss) to divorce to mood. One thing he said stuck with me: people are open to change when they’re in a “liminal state.” Which is fawncy talk for being in transition.

“In transition” pretty much describes where I am. In 2012, my beloved friend and business partner, Stephanie Wilkinson, and I sold our magazine. For me, that meant I pretty much sold my identity. (Read all about it here.) I looked around at my friends, and they were all going through different, but no less earth shaking, transitions. We were all done with the celebrated firsts: first kiss, first sex, first long-term relationship, and in many cases, first child. We were left with the sometimes glorious, sometimes messy, stuff that comes with adulthood.

From way back, I’ve looked to writing to help me figure out the difficult stuff in life. Before I discovered reading for wisdom, I read for information. I learned about sexual intercourse from the World Book Encyclopedia that my mom ordered one book at a time. (In case you’re wondering, it happens by a man inserting his penis into a woman’s vagina. In practice, this is not an especially helpful description.) I founded Full Grown People because I find comfort, empathy, and intellectual stimulation in reading other people’s stories.

The topics here run the whole gamut: romance, family, health, career, dealing with aging loved ones, and more. But what draws everything together is the sense that we’re all feeling our way along. There are a gazillion how-to books on all of these subjects, but I’ve always been interested in the how-come.

I hope you’ll find here what I’ve been wanting to read: well-told true stories of how different people have figured it out as they’re going along. I think every age has the potential to be an awkward age, and as my teeth migrate steadily back to where they were pre-braces, I’m revisiting those feelings of let’s pretend again. Let’s we pretend we know how to dance. Let’s pretend we know how to kiss. Let’s pretend we know how to dress for work. Let’s pretend we know how to date after many years. Let’s pretend this new career move isn’t scary and thrilling as all get-out. Let’s pretend we know how to deal with our father’s dementia. Let’s pretend we know how to say a final goodbye to our mother.

Thanks for pretending with us.

P.S. To stay in the loop and help us spread the word, you can sign up for notifications of new essays (over there on your right), like FGP on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, and do what one does on Google Plus.


JENNIFER NIESSLEIN is the founder and editor of Full Grown People.


All content copyright Full Grown People 2013-2017.

27 thoughts on “About

  1. Jennifer – Big congratulations. Very excited to see where this leads and to read the essays. Thank you for not giving up and for continuing to bring amazing writing to an eager audience. 🙂

  2. I am a long time reader of Brain, Child. Also read your book. Glad to see you found something new. So glad to be able to continue reading your words and the words of others you find for me to read! Thank you!

  3. Jennifer,

    Oh my goodness. This is an oasis of a place for the other awkward age.

    This series of Let’s Pretends is a heartbreaker, but also an icebreaker to anyone who’s been looking for a place of solace for the collective challenges we face as full grown adults:

    Let’s we pretend we know how to dance.
    Let’s pretend we know how to kiss.
    Let’s pretend we know how to dress for work.
    Let’s pretend we know how to date after many years.
    Let’s pretend this new career move isn’t scary and thrilling as all get-out.
    Let’s pretend we know how to deal with our father’s dementia.
    Let’s pretend we know how to say a final goodbye to our mother.

    The last one is especially powerful as I lost my mother on April 15. Thanks for your initiative to create this space.

  4. Thanks a gazillion! I’m incredibly excited, and Deborah, sign up for the newsletter (but it’s actually the first peek at the latest essays as they go up.) xxoo

  5. What a beautiful introduction. I came to your site because of Catherine Newman’s essay and I am very intrigued. I think this is one of the most illuminating about pages I’ve read yet! Looking forward to reading more.

  6. Wow. I started reading Brain, Child back when my first child was born 11 1/2 years ago. I was hooked instantly. We moved, added a few kids, life got busy…and I stopped my subscription and lost track of Brain, Child. This week FGP pops up on my Facebook as a suggested page, so I check it out. Again, hooked instantly. I was looking around the site, and recognized your name. What a small world. You are amazing, and I am thrilled to have found you again!

  7. Well, I just turned my writing group on to you and we are all 50-somethings. I hope that’s welcome. We learn so much from each other.

  8. Hi Jennifer,

    Just dropping you a line to let you know how proud I am to be a part of Full Grown People. The essays you keep publishing show such a range of life–beautiful, thrilling, sometimes wistful and sad. Great job! I hope to send you more work in the near future.

    All best,


  9. Wow. Your words made me cry because they feel so honest and real. I’ve always turned away from writing non-fiction because most of what I read felt contrived and I’m not like that. Over this past year, I’ve been very ill and the one regret I had was that I hadn’t written. So this morning I decided to try to find a venue where I could find my voice. I had no hope because I’ve tried several times before, never found a home, and didn’t think one existed. But this morning, the first site I came to (I used Duotrope) was here. Reading the couple stories I have (Nothing Gold Can Stay and I started reading the Accidental Immigrant, but I’m at work so I have to wait in suspense to read the rest tonight) and your words about the anthology (which I ordered because I know already it will be a treasure I’ll keep forever) and the words above and even the policy statement, that I’ve for the first time in 46 years of being alive found a home. Being that my dad was in the military and that I’ve never had a home, you don’t know what this means to me. It gives me hope to be alive, a feeling that I’m not alone and that I’m understood, an excitedness to write that I’ve never had in the same way before. It makes me feel like today is a new day and that things might be better from now on. I can’t wait to get home tonight and explore all the wonderful worlds that you and your writers have shared and to strive wholeheartedly to meet their ideal in my own writing. I’m so blessed to have found you and this site. Thank you.

  10. Great essays! Hope I can submit things to you, but not finding much about submission guidelines. Do I assume that you want double space? And that “memoirs” is okay? And that there are no age limits?
    Congratulations on a wonderful site. Just what I’ve been looking for.

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