Hey there word nerds!
Today I have the pleasure of speaking with Patrice Gopo on the show!
The daughter of Jamaican immigrants who was born and raised in Anchorage, Alaska, Patrice is a personal essayist and often writes about topics of race, immigration, and belonging.
Her essays have appeared in numerous publications including Catapult and The New York Times. She also has had radio commentaries appear on her local public radio station, and is the recipient of a North Carolina Arts Council Literature Fellowship.
Her essay collection All the Colors We Will See was a Fall 2018 Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers selection and is available now.
So listen in as Patrice and I chat about this amazing book, the personal essay form, and finding your own personal reason for why you write.
In this episode Patrice and I discuss:
- What elevates a personal anecdote to a personal essay.
- Techniques to find your go-to essay form.
- How to overcome the fear of putting your personal stories out in the world.
- Balancing the responsibility you have to others and to yourself.
- The importance of knowing who you are as a writer.
Plus, Patrice’s #1 tip for writers.
About Patrice Gopo
Patrice Gopo is the daughter of Jamaican immigrants and was born and raised in Anchorage, Alaska. She is a personal essayist and often writes about topics of race, immigration, and belonging.
Patrice’s essays have appeared in a variety of publications, including Catapult, Creative Nonfiction, and online in The New York Times and The Washington Post. Her radio commentaries have appeared on her local public radio station, WFAE 90.7. She is also the recipient of a North Carolina Arts Council Literature Fellowship, and her work has been nominated for Pushcart Prizes.
Patrice also has a bachelor of science in chemical engineering from Carnegie Mellon University and both a master of business administration and a master of public policy from the University of Michigan. While she is thankful she’s had the opportunity to study several different subjects, she’s also thrilled that engineering led to community development, which led to writing. Sometimes she wonders what might be next. Patrice lives with her family in North Carolina.
Her essay collection All the Colors We Will See, which was a Fall 2018 Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers selection, is now available.
To connect with Patrice check out her website at www.patricegopo.com.
And don’t forget to check out that Visual Guide to Personal Essays Patrice talked about in the interview!
All the Colors We Will See
Patrice Gopo grew up in Anchorage, Alaska, the child of Jamaican immigrants who had little experience being black in America. In All the Colors We Will See, Patrice seamlessly moves across borders of space and time to create vivid portraits of how the reality of being different affects her quest to belong.
In this poetic and often courageous weaving of writings, Patrice examines the complexities of identity in our turbulent yet hopeful time of intersecting heritages. As she digs beneath the layers of immigration questions and race relations, Patrice also turns her voice to themes such as marriage and divorce, the societal beauty standards we hold, and the intricacies of living out our faith.
With an eloquence born of pain and longing, Patrice’s reflections invite us to consider our own journeys toward belonging, challenging us to wonder if the very differences dividing us might bring us together after all.
If you decide to check out Patrice’s essay collection—All the Colors We Will See—or the book she mentioned by Priscilla Long—The Writer’s Portable Mentor: A Guide to Art, Craft, and the Writing Life—we hope you’ll do so via these Amazon affiliate links, where if you choose to purchase via the link DIY MFA gets a referral fee at no cost to you. As always, thank you for supporting DIY MFA!
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Until next week, keep writing and keep being awesome!