Meet Jill Conner Browne
#1 NY Times Best Selling Author of the Sweet Potato Queen Books
"Boss Queen" Jill Conner Browne conceived of and founded the Sweet Potato Queens® in the early 1980s. She had found herself in need of excitement and new direction. Around this time she had discovered that she lived near the self proclaimed Sweet Potato Capital of the World - Vardaman, Mississippi. Jill took it upon herself to be the queen for the farmers' annual festival. In 1982, Jill entered herself and three other friends in to Jackson, Mississippi's first St. Patrick's Day Parade. The four original queens wore green, hand-me down, ball gowns and tiaras and waved to the crowd from the bed of an old pickup truck. It was modest but a start. Since then, the Queen's outfits have undergone several upgrades and are now green-sequined dresses, flowing red wings, Revlon® “Love That Pink” lipstick, and real live majorette boots.
In 2011, the Sweet Potato Queens® had outgrown the St. Paddy's Day Parade and so Jill decided to partner with the Fondren Renaissance Foundation and created the Zippity Doo Dah® Weekend which would benefit the Blair E. Batson Hospital for Children. She is also a founding member of the Women's Fund of the Community Foundation of Greater Jackson, assisted in Hurricane Katrina relief efforts and also serves on the Volunteer Board of the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy and on the Jackson State University Development Foundation Board of Directors. Jill has also written over nine books, been featured on USA Today, Newsweek, and The Washington Post, as well as appeared on numerous TV shows such as The Today Show, and Good Morning America. The International Waterlily and Water Gardening Society registered the cultivar: Nymphaea "Queen Jill," a waterlily specifically created to honor Jill's charitable works around the United States.
When Jill is not writing or working for relief efforts, she's in Jackson, Mississippi with her three elderly-cats, a rescued 3-legged girl dog, a huge boy rescued dog and her daughter's rescued mutt (a Lab-coonhound mix) and her husband. And no, he is not the Sweet Potato King.