Writers@Drew* presented Mira Jacob, acclaimed author and illustrator, and finalist for the 2019 National Book Critics Circle Award, at Drew University on February 4, 2020. Mira read from her 2018 graphic narrative, Good Talk, A Memoir in Conversations in the Founder’s Room at Mead Hall to a packed and highly engaged audience.
Her book is described on her website as “A bold, wry, and intimate graphic memoir about American identity, interracial families, and the realities that divide us.”
It’s also a beautiful examination of what it means to be a person of color in America — about parenting, friendship, politics, childhood curiosity, and love. It resonates on many levels, both powerful and moving, and is written with raw energy and emotion.
During the Q & A session, Mira said she taught herself to draw over three years. She spoke about the challenging conversations she held with her young son when many of his questions tapped into the racism in our society. Mira also revealed she did not read comic books growing up but was inspired by cartoonist and author Linda Barry. “She is one of those people that tells you the connection between your drawing arm and your brain and how to pull those stories out of you.” Seeing how Linda Barry loved one of her characters, Mira realized, “this is how you do it!” If we love our characters, our readers will love our characters. She also talked about how she is inspired when she eavesdrops on people. “I love how sentences stash up against each other. I love listening to what people say and what they don’t say. This is the richest place.”
Mira is working on a television show based on this memoir and is looking forward to writing a new novel.
Mira Jacob is the author and illustrator of Good Talk: A Memoir in Conversations. Her critically acclaimed novel, The Sleepwalker’s Guide to Dancing, was a Barnes & Noble Discover New Writers pick, shortlisted for India’s Tata First Literature Award, and longlisted for the Brooklyn Literary Eagles Prize. It was named one of the best books of 2014 by Kirkus Reviews, the Boston Globe, Goodreads, Bustle, and The Millions. Her writing and drawings have appeared in The New York Times, Electric Literature, Tin House, Literary Hub, Guernica, Vogue, the Telegraph, and Buzzfeed, and she has a drawn column on Shondaland. She currently teaches at The New School, and she is a founding faculty member of the MFA Program at Randolph College. She is the co-founder of Pete’s Reading Series in Brooklyn, where she spent 13 years bringing literary fiction, non-fiction, and poetry to Williamsburg. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband, documentary filmmaker Jed Rothstein, and their son.
* Co-Sponsored by The Casement Fund and the English Department, the Writers@Drew reading series hosts a variety of published authors, who recite excerpts from their works for the Drew community throughout the academic year. The list of previous guest authors includes Junot Díaz, Mary Gaitskill, Colum McCann, and Jacqueline Woodson, as well as faculty and Drew alumni/ae Nicole Sealey, John Murillo, Sean Nevin, and William Giraldi. At the end of the Spring semester, the Drew Student Writing Prize winners read their award winning poetry and prose for the Drew community.
By Yasmin Acosta, Launch Catalyst, Arts, Communications, & Languages Career Community