Naomi Jackson Recommends...

“I am a cultural carnivore, a dually satisfying and frustrating way to be in New York City, where a clone would be useful to see all the art, plays, films, music, and dance that I would otherwise miss. A brief but eye-opening stint working at the Studio Museum in Harlem exposed me to the work of artists from around the African diaspora. I’ve had the good fortune of working with an incredible crew of visual artists recently. Sheena Rose is the dynamic Barbadian artist whose work appears on the cover of my debut novel, The Star Side of Bird Hill. I am working on a screenplay adaptation of my short story, 'Ladies,' in collaboration with Barbadian filmmaker Lisa Harewood. Simone Leigh is a sculptor whose Tilton Gallery show, 'Moulting,' still haunts me. I wrote an essay for Waiting Room magazine as part of Leigh’s Creative Time project, the Free People’s Medical Clinic. I loved appearing in Wura-Natasha Ogunji’s performance art piece in Austin, Texas, one hundred black women, one hundred actions; I regularly look to Ogunji’s gorgeous, ethereal works on paper for inspiration. My partner, Lola Flash, aside from being a renowned portrait photographer featured in the film Through a Lens Darkly: Black Photographers and the Emergence of the People, captured my headshot as well as my book launch—she is the only photographer who can get me to smile when I don’t feel like it. When the writing is going slowly (or even when it’s going well), I recommend getting your head out of a book and into another art form.”
—Naomi Jackson, author of The Star Side of Bird Hill (Penguin Press, 2015)