Mira Jacob is the author of the critically acclaimed novel, The Sleepwalker’s Guide to Dancing, which was a Barnes & Noble Discover New Writers pick, shortlisted for India’s Tata First Literature Award, and longlisted for the Brooklyn Literary Eagles Prize. In addition, it received an honor from the Asian Pacific American Librarians Association and was named one of the best books of 2014 by Kirkus Reviews, the Boston Globe, Goodreads, Bustle, and The Millions. She is the co-founder of much-loved Pete’s Reading Series in Brooklyn, where she spent 13 years bringing literary fiction, non-fiction, and poetry to the city’s sweetest stage. Her writing and drawings have appeared in The New York Times, Guernica, Vogue, the Telegraph, Buzzfeed, and Tin House, and she has a drawn column on Shondaland. She has appeared on national and local television and radio and has taught writing to students of all ages in New York, New Mexico, and Barcelona. She currently teaches at The New School. In September 2014, Mira was named the Emerging Novelist Honoree at Hudson Valley Writer’s Center, where she received a commendation from the U.S. Congress. She is currently drawing and writing her graphic memoir, Good Talk: Conversations I’m Still Confused About (Random House, 2019). She lives in Brooklyn with her husband, documentary filmmaker Jed Rothstein, and their son and teaches fiction writing at the New School.
1. Who is your favorite villain, and who is your favorite protagonist in literature?
I cackled out loud reading Julia Toneybee Leroy, the blue-blooded heiress who writes an apology letter to "You, African Americans" in Kaitlyn Greenidge's We Love You, Charlie Freeman
. Later, in the New York Times article "Who Gets to Write What
," Greenidge explains how she had to "love this monster into existence" and I can feel that in the reading, the precise fury in making her awful, the care taken to find her heart, the deftness of pinning her to her small place in history.
As for protagonists, I don't know that I want to live in her brain (the way I would with, say, the narrator of Kate Atkinson's Behind the Scenes at the Museum) but I often find myself thinking of Stephanie in Jennifer Egan's short story "A to B." There's a moment when she carries her own devastation into the backyard to detonate and I relate--not to her particular circumstance, per se, but to the emotional acrobatics required of a women who lives in close proximity to her rage.
2. When did you know you were a writer?
3. What are you currently working on?
I have a book coming out in March called Good Talk
. It is a graphic memoir about love and race in America. It's also a love letter to the lost art of talking.
4. How has your writing process changed over the years?
A few years ago, it became a writing-and-drawing process. With any luck, it will at some point become a scriptwriting process. I guess, more than anything, my trajectory has been marked by a distinct lack of knowing what is next on the horizon and forgiving myself for it.
5. Describe your writing style in one sentence.
Equal parts heart and hustle.
Five Questions, by Nicole L. Drayton. Nicole is a writer, screenwriter and independent filmmaker based in Brooklyn, NY. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Liberal Arts from The New School, and currently works for the university in the MFA Creative Writing office.