Want to know more about the moderators behind the Mixed Remixed On-Line Book Club? Today, meet Jamie Moore who is the Festival’s Workshop and Literary Director. And don’t forget to join us over on Goodreads as we get ready for our next book club pick set for a discussion next month.-Heidi Durrow
What do you hope that people will get out of the Mixed Remixed Festival On-Line Book Club?
I hope that participating in the Mixed Remixed Festival Online Book Club that people will have the opportunity to extend the discussion about literature of the mixed experience and it’s role in shaping the way we think about ourselves and our community. I hope we can reach out and include those who haven’t been able to join us in person in this dialogue and build community with each other!
Why do you think it’s necessary?
I think this is necessary because I can think of any other group or conference that is having this conversation. I believe our focus and our strength is in personal story, and by making the space to talk specifically about literature with mixed characters or stories, then we create the demand. We support and build an appreciation and distinction of the mixed experience that is multifaceted, individuals and unique.
What sparked your love of books and reading?
I was a shy kid growing up, and outside of my close friends, didn’t make a huge effort to be social. Yet, I still craved adventure and story. My mother made a huge effort to put books in my hands as soon as I could read, and then I was obsessed. As I got older, I looked to books for information and for validation of my experiences and feelings. I had a lot of conflict growing up mixed, and stories made me feel like my own journey was valuable and worth talking about.
Growing up mixed, did you find books or stories that reflected your story?
I didn’t find books that reflected my mixed experience until late high school. I read a lot of books that had characters of color, specifically young black girls. (Thanks again to my mom!) I read the Amazing Grace books and others that made me wish I was darker; that I could fit within these characters’ worlds. Perhaps the first mixed-heritage character I remember is Sal from Sharon Creech’s Walk Two Moons, which I read over and over again. In high school, James McBride’s The Color of Water was required reading, and it changed my life. I related to the anxiety he felt around identity, and the descriptions of his family. This book made me believe there were others like it out there. In college, I started my blog Mixed Reader to find those books, and build that canon for myself.
Who are your favorite authors? Or can you name some of your favorite books with mixed characters or interracial families?
My favorite authors are those who talk about intersectional and interracial experiences, in fiction and beyond. My current favorites include James Baldwin, James McBride, Heidi Durrow, Danzy Senna, Mat Johnson, Jamie Ford, Toni Morrison, Zadie Smith, Ross Gay, and Roxane Gay.
If someone has never been part of an on-line book club before, what should they expect?
If this is someone’s first time in an online book club, they should expect a similar community as an in person book club, with the ability to communicate with a larger group! The difference I feel, is that the communication and participation has to be a lot more intentional. We have so many distractions online, and in order to build this community and feel connected to one another, we need everyone to participate. Join the group discussion on Goodreads, send us questions, comments and suggestions there or on the festival twitter and Facebook pages. I was so excited to see the discussion about Loving Day, and the conversation was both analytical and personal; so reflective of our community as a whole!
How did the first on-line discussion go?
I am so energized and proud about the first discussion. I feel like in both the podcast and online discussion there was a lot of honest conversation about the different aspects of Loving Day and how we can connect it to larger issues/topics of the mixed experience. I’m excited for our next discussion!
Jamie Moore is an English Professor in California. She is the author of the novella Our Small Faces and received her MFA in Fiction from Antioch University Los Angeles. She is the Literary and Workshops Director for the Mixed Remixed Festival. Her work was recently featured in the September 2016 issue of Drunk Monkeys.