Author Q&A with Jules Ohman
Author Jules Ohman, took some time this week to answer a few of our questions! Find their responses below, and join us Thursday, July 7th at 7pm for a reading to celebrate Jules Ohman's new book, Body Grammar. Alicia Mountain will join in conversation. Register for the event here.
How did you come to write Body Grammar?
I started a version of Body Grammar in 2013, during my first year of graduate school at the University of Montana. Lou originally appeared as a character in a short story, the daughter of that story’s protagonist (now the dad in Body Grammar), which became a novel following a family in Portland, Oregon over the course of a year during the Great Recession. A few years ago, I split the novel in two and rewrote Body Grammar from the ground up and set it later in time. Lou took over the story, and a lot of the book’s concerns changed along with the development of her character and with its exploration of the fashion world.
What are you currently reading?
I’m halfway through Fight Night by Miriam Toews. I’ve been on a huge kick of reading Toews’ novels, and finished Women Talking and All My Puny Sorrows in the last year. They are some of the funniest books I’ve ever read and also extremely devastating. The ending of All My Puny Sorrows made me cry harder than almost any other book, and I’m gearing up for the same with Fight Night.
In August, we celebrate Women in Translation Month to draw attention to the disproportionately low number of works translated into English by women writers. Do you have any favorite books or authors you like to recommend?
I’ve been reading the fiction of Tove Jansson, lately, who created the Moomin cartoons. I just finished her novel Fair Play, which is based on her longtime partnership with the artist Tuulikki Pietilä. I’m forever obsessed with Elena Ferrante and her Neapolitan Novels, and will continue to recommend them. My favorite is the third book in the series, Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay, and its focus on Lenu’s career as a writer and the bulk of her middle adulthood. But I love them all.
What’s next? Any upcoming book projects in the works that you can tell us about?
I’m working on a new novel that I’m excited about. It’s set partially in Oregon and Montana and follows a queer protagonist in their late twenties. More to come!
Jules Ohman received an MFA from the University of Montana and cofounded the nonprofit Free Verse. She coordinates Literary Arts’ Writers in the Schools program and lives in Portland, Oregon, with her wife.
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